Sunday, November 28, 2021


Indonesia reports 314 new Covid-19 cases, 11 more deaths

Indonesia on Sunday confirmed 314 new Covid-19 cases, raising its tally of infections to 4,253,412, according to the country's Health Ministry. The death toll from the virus in the country rose by 11 to 143,739, while 331 more people recovered during the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 4,101,547.Indonesia started

Canadian city forced to evacuate due to floods

The entire City of Merritt in Canada's British Columbia province was forced to evacuate due to floods caused by torrential rain. The municipal wastewater treatment plant in the community had failed, said the city in a statement, urging residents not to use water in their homes, including flushing toilets and running taps.

China overtakes US as richest country in the world

Global wealth tripled over the last two decades, with China leading the way and overtaking the US for the top spot worldwide. A report by McKinsey & Co. that examines the national balance sheets of ten countries representing more than 60 per cent of the world's income. China accounted for almost one-third of gains in global net worth over the past two decades, the report said. "We are now wealthier than we have ever been," Jan Mischke, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute in Zurich, said in an interview. Net worth worldwide rose to $514 trillion in 2020, from $156 trillion in 2000, according to the study. China accounted for almost one-third of the increase. Its wealth skyrocketed to $120 trillion from a mere $7 trillion in 2000, the year before it joined the World Trade Organization, speeding its economic ascent, the report said. The US, held back by more muted increases in property prices, saw its net worth more

Aus retail sales surge

Retail sales in Australia jumped 4.2 per cent in October 2021 compared with the previous year, and a 10.1 per cent spike from the same time before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019, according to official figures released on Tuesday. The figures, released by Australian Retailers Association (ARA), were based on data which records online and in-store credit payments. Despite the overall rebound, retail sales growth has staggered in the cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra as they only exited their prolonged lockdowns in mid-to-late October.

6 killed, 10 injured in Pak road accidents

At least six people were killed and 10 others injured in two separate road accidents in Pakistan in the last 24 hours, local media reported on Tuesday. At least two students were killed and 10 others injured when a school van on Tuesday morning collided with a train while passing through an unmanned railway crossing in Sheikhupura city, Punjab province. Rescue workers and the local people retrieved the victims and rushed them to a nearby hospital. The accident reportedly

Japan to secure 1.6mn oral Covid medicine: PM

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday that his government has decided to secure 1.6 million doses of oral medication for Covid-19 and increase the hospitalisation capacity for infected patients by 30 per cent compared to the peak level this summer. "By securing a medical system based on the worst-case scenario and enhancing early treatment, we will be able to continue our economic and social activities even if infections spread," Kishida said at a special task force meeting.

S.Korean Vice FM to meet US, Japanese counterparts in Washington

South Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun will visit Washington next week for talks with his US and Japanese counterparts, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday. During his visit, Choi plans to meet US.Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on November 16. The two are expected to discuss ways to bring North Korea to nuclear negotiations that have been stalled since 2019, and Seoul's proposal to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

Thailand to emphasise sustainable, balanced future in APEC 2022: PM

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Friday that for the year 2022, his country is committing to make sure that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is open to all opportunities, connected in every dimension and balanced in all aspects. Prayut made the remarks while delivering a keynote speech titled "Thailand's Priorities for APEC 2022" at the APEC CEO Summit via a teleconference, calling it an opportunity to create a sustainable and balanced post-Covid future.

S.Korea's domestic demand to improve with eased quarantine measures

South Korea's domestic demand is expected to improve with eased quarantine measures against Covid-19, a government report said on Friday. The Ministry of Economy and Finance said in its monthly economic report called Green Book that the South Korean economy recently saw a continued recovery in export and employment.

Bahrain approves Covaxin for emergency use

The National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) of Bahrain on Friday approved Covaxin, India's first indigenous vaccine against Covid-19, for emergency use. Covaxin, manufactured by the Hyderabad-based pharma major Bharat Biotech, will be available in Bahrain for people aged 18 years and above after the approval. People travelling from India to Bahrain with vaccine certificate issued in India approved by the WHO will be exempted from the 10-day mandatory quarantine and a pre-arrival negative RT-PCR report.

4 lions in Singapore's night safari test positive for Covid-19

Four Asiatic lions at Singapore's Night Safari have tested positive for Covid-19, the Straits Times reported on Tuesday evening, quoting the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS). The AVS, which is under the National Parks Board, said that the four lions, as well as an African lion at the Singapore Zoo, had exhibited mild signs of sickness including coughing, sneezing and lethargy on Saturday and Monday respectively.

S. Korea, Indonesia to enter last-stage talks on overdue payments for fighter project

South Korea and Indonesia were set to hold what could be the final round of talks on Wednesday to address the latter's overdue payments for a joint fighter development project, sources said. Kang Eun-ho, head of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), and other Korean negotiators arrived in Jakarta on Tuesday, as Seoul seeks to squelch lingering doubts over Indonesia's commitment to the 8.8 trillion won ($7.4 billion) project, called KF-X. Indonesia first agreed to 

Singapore to end free Covid treatment of unvaccinated people

Covid-19 patients who are "unvaccinated by choice" will be responsible for their medical bills as the government will no longer bear their costs, Singapore's Health Ministry said. The government has, so far, been covering the cost of Covid-19 care for all Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders, excluding those who tested positive after returning from overseas travel. This was done to "avoid financial considerations adding to public uncertainty and concern when Covid-19 was an emergent and unfamiliar disease", the ministry said in 

Young girl sexually assaulted, killed, dumped in Islamabad public washroom

In a tragic and shocking incident, a body of a young girl was found dumped in a washroom of a non-functional metro bus station in Islamabad's G-11 sector. The police officials confirmed that the victim was sexually assaulted and then strangled to death, a claim that is yet to be established and ascertained after the autopsy report comes out. As per details, a passer-by, who called the local police station, after he spotted the body. Officials said that the

Taliban to probe after torture of ex-Afghan MP comes to light

The ministerial meeting of the interim cabinet of the Taliban has directed an investigation into the torture of former Member of Parliament Allah Gul Mujahid. The acting Prime Minister of Afghanistan, Muhammad Hassan Akhund, directed the intelligence bodies to investigate the case and bring the culprits to book. The decision was taken

First public challenge by WHO to Turkmenistan's claim of zero Covid cases

A senior World Health Organization official has cast doubt on Turkmenistan's claim that it has zero Covid cases, the BBC reported. "[It] has been spreading worldwide as a pandemic for almost two years now," said Catherine Smallwood, a senior WHO emergencies officer, adding: "From the scientific point of view, it's unlikely that the virus is not circulating in Turkmenistan."

Tanzania targets daily Covid-19 vaccinations of up to 100,000 people

Tanzanian authorities has said that between 80,000 and 100,000 people will be vaccinated daily against Covid-19 during the second phase of the inoculation campaign. A statement by the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children on Saturday said the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Abel Makubi, revealed the acceleration of the vaccination in a meeting with Regional Medical officers

US workforce impaired by Covid-19, guns, drugs

The Covid-19 pandemic, as well as gun violence and drug overdoses, have caused lasting damage to the US workforce over the last two years, media have recently reported. Almost 4.3 million people quit their jobs in August, the Labor Department said.

Young people in Japan diagnosed with anorexia up 60%

The number of young people diagnosed with the eating disorder anorexia in Japan has increased around 60 per cent in fiscal 2020 compared with a year earlier, likely due to growing anxiety and pressure amid the Covid-19 pandemic, local media reported Wednesday. A survey released last month by the National Centre for Child Health and Development found that 28 boys and 230 girls under 20 years old were newly diagnosed with the eating disorder in fiscal 2020 through March this year, both up over 60 per cent from the previous year. Nine boys and 132 girls were newly hospitalized for anorexia, increased from six and 93 respectively compared with the previous year. The survey also found some hospitals lacked available beds for those in severe conditions despite the uptick in patients, as their beds were used to treat Covid-19 patients. The centre conducted the survey in two months

Nations need to address risks of loss, damage from climate change: OECD

As governments face the challenge of delivering on their net zero commitments by 2050, a new OECD report on Monday said they must focus in parallel on reducing and managing the inevitable risk of further losses and damages from climate change. The 'Managing Climate Risks, Facing up to Losses and Damages' report says the risks of further impacts on economies, ecosystems,

COP26: 120 leaders converge for two weeks of climate talks

Around 120 leaders came together in UK's Glasgow on Monday at the start of COP26, launching two weeks of global negotiations to help determine whether humanity can drive forward the urgent action needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Sri Lanka to provide free tea plants to boost growth

The Sri Lankan government said that it will provide free tea plants to any grower who wishes to engage in tea plantation from next year aimed at boosting growth of the sector. Plantations Minister Ramesh Pathirana told a media briefing that it takes nearly four years for the tea bushes to produce yield, therefore the growers often become discouraged in engaging with the tea industry. "The growers have come forward to cultivate tea adopting the new system. By adopting this plantation method, it will be possible to make a revolutionary change in the tea industry within the next three years," the Minister said.

NZ to support students to re-engage in classroom learning

Children and young people in New Zealand's largest city of Auckland will get support from the government for getting back to classroom learning when allowed by circumstances, said Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti on Saturday. The government support will cover the rest of this year and into 2022, according to the officials. Auckland has been in a lockdown since mid-August due to an outbreak fuelled by the the Delta variant of the virus

N.Korean outlet calls S.Korean rocket launch 'failure'

A North Korean propaganda outlet on Saturday described South Korea's "half-success" launch of its first homegrown rocket as "a definite failure", saying the South has a long way to go before proving its launch capabilities. Quoting what it claims to be "comments from South Korean and foreign experts", the Echo of Unification, the anti-Seoul propaganda outlet, reported that the ultimate goal of the rocket launch was to send the dummy satellite into the orbit, which Nuri, or the Korea Space Launch Vehicle II, failed to accomplish during last week's launch.

Kris Jenner says Kourtney, Travis Barker are 'made for each other'

Reality TV personality Kris Jenner is delighted her daughter Kourtney Kardashian, has got engaged to the Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, but she said their frequent public displays of affection can be a bit much to be around. The 65-year-old Kris told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres: "They're really made for each other. They really are. They're the cutest couple. They're so in love. And you let us know that they're so in love, constantly. "It's wild. You feel, you know, like they are only two people in the room. And we almost don't know what to do with ourselves. Like I'm looking for a closet to hide and somewhere to go."

China's Kuaizhou-1A rocket launches satellite

China sent a new satellite into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the northwestern Gansu Province on Wednesday. The Jilin-1 Gaofen 02F satellite was launched by a Kuaizhou-1A (KZ-1A) carrier rocket at 2:19 p.m. (Beijing Time) and entered the planned orbit. It is an optical remote sensing satellite that can provide high resolution images and high-speed data transmission.

Covid killed more people in US than HIV/AIDS did in 40 yrs

Covid-19 has become the deadliest pandemic in the US history, claiming more lives than HIV/AIDS claimed in 40 years, according to a news website. The US government's initial approach to both HIV/AIDS and Covid-19 was "denial and indifference". When AIDS rampaged through communities in parts of the US in the early 1980s, the federal government looked the other way and even slashed spending on public health agencies

China warns US to be cautious on Taiwan after Biden's comments

China's Foreign Ministry on Friday warned the US that China has no room for compromise when it comes to safeguarding sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. "No one should underestimate the strong resolve, determination and capability of the Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, urging the US to not "stand against

Indonesia reports 633 new Covid cases; 43 deaths

The number of Covid-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 633 within a day to 4,237,834, with the death toll adding by 43 to 143,120, the country's Health Ministry said on Thursday. According to the ministry, 1,372 more people were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of patients recovering from Covid-19 to 4,079,120.

China pledges an additional 2 mn Covid vaccines to Nepal

China on Tuesday announced that it is providing an additional grant of two million Covid-19 vaccines to Nepal. During a telephone conversation with his Nepali counterpart Dr Narayan Khadka on Tuesday, Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the announcement to provide the Vero Cell vaccines manufactured in China. China, so far, is the largest provider of vaccines to Nepal - both as grants and commercial deals. As of now, Nepal has administered 8.3 million China-made Vero Cell Covid vaccines manufactured by Sinopharm. Out of this, half were gifted by the Chinese government. According to the Ministry 

Blast outside Balochistan University kills cop, 17 inured

A policeman was killed while 17 persons were injured in a blast near the Balochistan University on Quetta's Sariab Road in Pakistan on Monday. Law enforcement agencies and rescue officials began arriving on the scene shortly after the incident was reported. The area has been cordoned off by the security officials. Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani said that a police truck deputed outside the varsity gate was targeted with an explosive device planted in a motorcycle.

Sri Lanka records over 7,000 tourist arrivals in Oct

Over 7,000 tourists have arrived in Sri Lanka so far this month, giving a boost to the country's tourism industry which took a blow due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Latvian president tests positive for Covid-19

Latvian President Egils Levits has tested positive for Covid-19, his office said on Thursday. On returning from a visit to Sweden on Wednesday evening, the president took a rapid Covid-19 test, which came positive. Levits will now take a RT-PCR test to verify the diagnosis. Levits was scheduled to welcome Estonia's new president Alar Karis who arrived in Latvia for a visit on Thursday. The Latvian president personally contacted his Estonian counterpart

Saudis take charge of Newcastle United, other clubs worried

English Premier League clubs are in turmoil after a Saudi Arabia-led consortium took over Newcastle United, ending the previous owner Mike Ashley's 14-year-old ownership of the club. The £300m takeover was confirmed by the Premier League in a statement last week and the process has been completed on Monday with news spreading in the British media that the new owners want to sack manager, Steve Bruce. Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is tipped to be the frontrunner to take over charge at St James' Park. The investment group is led by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and also comprises PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media.

Russia reports record daily Covid-19 deaths

Russia has confirmed 973 Covid-related fatalities over the past 24 hours, the highest daily count reported in the country since the start of the pandemic, bringing the national death toll to 218,345, the official coronavirus monitoring and response centre said on Tuesday. A total of 28,190 new infections were registered, taking the nationwide tally to 7,832,964. The number of recoveries increased by 20,706 to 6,894,285. Meanwhile, Moscow reported 4,699 new cases, taking the city's total to 1,688,376. The Russian capital has launched 20 free rapid coronavirus test spots and each facility can test about 200 people a day. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said last Friday that

SL ranked among top 5 Wellness Tourism Destinations globally

Sri Lanka has been ranked among the top five Wellness Tourism Destinations in the world this year, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said on Monday. According to the Global Wellness Institute, Sri Lanka has been ranked number four as the world's top Wellness Tourism Destination while Bali tops the list this year. The Institute ranked Sri Lanka as the leading destination for spiritual healing. Minister Ranatunga 

NZ mandates Covid vaccination for teachers, health workers

New Zealand has mandated Covid-19 vaccination for teachers and health workers, the two workforces that are critical to preventing the spread of the virus, a Minister said here on Monday. High-risk workers in the health and disability sector are required to be fully vaccinated by December 1, and to receive their first dose by October 30, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said in a statement.

Flooding pushes coal prices to record highs in China

Flooding in northern China is hitting a major coal production centre hard, sending coal prices soaring and complicating the efforts by Beijing to tackle the ongoing power shortages. Heavy rains have forced the closure of 60 coal mines in Shanxi province, China's largest coal mining hub, according to a statement released on Saturday by the provincial government's Emergency Management Bureau. The province is home to a quarter of the country's coal production. The adjacent Shaanxi province, which ranks third in the country for coal output, also reported heavy rains and mudslides that hurt operations in the local mines, according to the Securities Times. The price of thermal coal futures, which is primarily used to generate power, surged to an all-time high on Monday on the Zhengzhou Commodity......

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced his retirement

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday announced his retirement from politics, adding that he will not contest for Vice President during the 2022 presidential elections."Today, I announce my retirement from politics," the 76-year-old leader says to journalists.Concerning his surprise announcement, Duterte, who took office in 2016 for a six-year term of presidency, said that he is heeding the Filipinos' "overwhelming sentiment" for him to quit politics."The universal sentiment of the Filipinos is that I am not qualified. It would be a violation of the constitution to circumvent the law, the spirit of the constitution. "And so in obedience to the will of the people who, after all, placed me in the presidency many years ago, I now say to my countrymen I will heed your wishes," Duterte said.

Government set up by Afghans even in exile

A number of former Afghan officials, who fled the country along with President Ashraf Ghani after the Taliban takeover last month, have announced the continuation of the Afghan government in exile.A statement released by the Afghan Embassy in Switzerland read that the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the only legitimate government of Afghanistan that is elected by the votes of the people and no other government can replace a legitimate one.The statement read that Afghanistan has been occupied by external factors and based on the historic responsibility of the Afghan government after consultations with the elders of the country, they decided to announce the government in exile. "After the escape of Ashraf Ghani and his rupture with Afghan politics, his first vice-president (Amrullah Saleh) will be leading the country," the statement said. The statement also said that the three powers of the government namely executive, judicial, and legislative will be activated soon and they have been busy consulting in this regard., as per the report.