Friday, September 30, 2022


6.7-magnitude quake hits Indonesia, no tsunami alert issued

An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale hit Indonesia on Friday, but there was no tsunami alert issued. The US Geological Survey said that an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 jolted 88 km SW of Labuan, Indonesia at 9.05 a.m.

Beijing sets air quality record in 2021

Beijing made a breakthrough in its air pollution treatment as the Chinese capital reached the national air quality standard, local authorities said on Tuesday. The city's average concentration of PM2.5 was 33 micrograms per cubic meter in 2021, the lowest level since records began in 2013, Yu Jianhua, deputy director of the Beijing municipal ecology and environment bureau, told a press briefing.

30 injured after 5.5-magnitude quake hits China's Yunnan

At least 30 people were injured after a 5.5-magnitude earthquake jolted Ninglang County in China's Yunnan province two days, local authorities said on Tuesday. All the injured are receiving treatment and under medical observation, and none sustained life-threatening wounds, according to the county government.

3 feared dead in devastating Colorado wildfire

Three people were reported missing and "feared dead" due to a devastating wildfire that swept through two suburban communities in the US state of Colorado, officials said. A total of 991 homes and businesses were destroyed by the fire - 553 in Louisville, 332 in Superior and 106 in unincorporated Boulder County. Another 127 structures were damaged, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management.

Singapore's economy grew by 7.2% in 2021

Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry announced on Monday that based on advance estimates, the country's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.2 per cent in 2021, rebounding from the 5.4 per cent contraction in 2020. In the fourth quarter of 2021, Singapore's GDP grew by 5.9 per cent year on year, moderating from the 7.1 per cent growth in the previous quarter.

Imran Khan's ex-wife escapes gun attack in Islamabad

Reham Khan, the ex-wife of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, narrowly escaped a gun attack in Islamabad late Sunday night. In a tweet, she revealed that on the way back home from her nephew's wedding, her car was shot at and two men on a motorcycle held the vehicle at gunpoint. "I had just changed vehicles. My personal secretary and driver were in the car," the former television presenter said and demanded that the "so-called government should be held accountable for it (the attack)". Reham, in multiple 

Aus PM rules out funding free rapid Covid tests

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday ruled out government funding free rapid coronavirus tests. Morrison said that the federal government cannot afford to continue spending on preventing the spread of Covid-19 at the same rate it did in 2020 and 2021, reports. "We've invested hundreds of billions of dollars getting Australia through this crisis," he told Seven Network television. "But we're now in a

B'desh to administer 40mn doses of Covid vax every month from Jan

Bangladesh will administer 40 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines every month from January next year, a Minister has said. "We are taking the initiative to give vaccines in every ward of the country starting next month. Hopefully, we will be able to meet our targets by next May-June," Zahid Maleque, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, was quoted as saying in a report of leading local news agency UNB. Maleque said that Bangladesh has been praised by the world for tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. On the spread of the new Omicron variant, the Minister warned that vaccines alone will not contain its surge.

3 dead in S.Korean chemical factory blast

Three workers were found dead after an explosion took place at a chemical factory in the South Korean city of Yeosu on Monday, firefighters said. Fire broke out at 1.37 p.m. at a petrochemical manufacturing factory in the Yeosu Industrial Complex in Yeosu, 450 km south of Seoul. While a total of seven people were working at a chemicals storage facility of the factory, three of them were found dead at a nearby plant, apparently due to the strong impact of the explosion.

Magnitude 5.5 earthquake rattles Philippines

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.5 struck Occidental Mindoro province on Monday, the Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said. The institute said the quake, which struck at 5.12 p.m. local time, hit at a depth of 104 kilometres, about 23 kilometres northeast of Paluan. The quake was also felt in Metro Manila, Batangas province, Zambales province on the main Luzon island.

Two missing after cargo ship capsizes off Sweden's coast

Two crew members were missing and a rescue operation was launched after a cargo ship capsized in the Baltic Sea off the south coast of Sweden on Monday. The accident which occurred at 3.30 a.m. local time (0230 GMT) between the Swedish city of Ystad and the Danish island of Bornholm during foggy conditions, may have been caused by a collision with another vessel, Swedish Television, the national public TV broadcaster, reported on Monday. According to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, around 10 ships and helicopters from Sweden and Denmark were deployed for the rescue operation.

Russia adds 29,558 Covid-19 cases

Russia has reported 29,558 new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours, taking the total caseload to 10,046,454, the official monitoring and response centre said Monday. Meanwhile, the national Covid death toll has increased by 1,121 to 290,604, while the number of recoveries grew by 28,561 to 8,769,916.

Nearly 150,000 students in Vietnam's Covid-19 hotspot return to school

Nearly 150,000 students from 9th and 12th grades in Vietnam's southern Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), the country's largest Covid-19 hotspot, returned to school on Monday after a long time of learning online due to pandemic restrictions.

Israel's Opaganib Covid pill may be potent against Omicron

Israel-based RedHill Biopharma on Tuesday announced that its Covid pill Opaganib is expected to be unaffected by mutations associated with Omicron and other known Coronavirus' variants of concern. Studies on Opaganib have shown an apparent clinical benefit in reducing mortality, getting patients back onto room air and getting them out of hospital faster. Opaganib, if approved, would target an entirely different and sicker patient population than the Pfizer and Merck oral drug candidates, which showed benefit only in non-hospitalised patients at the earliest stages of symptomatic infection. "Opaganib acts independently of mutations to the viral spike protein. We believe that its unique proposed mechanism of action -- targeting a protein in the human cell required by the

One of the highest devaluations of Pak currency in Imran's tenure

The value of the Pakistani rupee has fallen by 30.5 per cent against the US dollar over the last three years and four months under the Imran Khan-led government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The rupee witnessed massive depreciation from Rs 123 against the US dollar in August 2018 to Rs 177 against the US dollar in December 2021, a decline of 30.5 per cent over the last 40 months.

17 Vietnamese rescued after ship sinks near island in S. Korea

South Korea's Coast Guard rescued 17 Vietnamese sailors on Thursday after their cargo ship sank near the eastern island of Ulleung a day earlier, officials said. The 5,765-ton Panama-registered vessel carrying 18 Vietnamese crew members went down in waters 154 kilometres north of the East Sea island at around 9.50 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the Donghae regional office of the Coast Guard.

Israel reports third case of Omicron variant

The Israeli Ministry of Health on Thursday reported a third case of the Covid-19 variant Omicron in the country. This is an Israeli vaccinated with three Pfizer shots, who recently returned from England, the ministry noted.

Sputnik V, Sputnik Light will neutralise latest Covid variant: RDIF

The Gamaleya Institute believes that both Sputnik V and Sputnik Light will neutralise the latest variant of Covid-19, Omicron, Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund on Monday. Dmitriev said that the Gamaleya Institute, based on existing protocols of immediately developing vaccine versions for variants of concern, has already begun developing the new version of Sputnik vaccine adapted to Omicron.

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.