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UN warns child labour, trafficking on the rise in troubled Mali

DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – More children have been trafficked, forced to work in gold mines and to fight as soldiers in Mali this year as conflict worsened and COVID-19 shut schools, the United Nations...

Pennsylvania Supreme Court hears appeal of Bill Cosby’s 2018 sexual assault conviction

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) – A lawyer for Bill Cosby on Tuesday told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the judge at the entertainer’s 2018 sexual assault trial should have barred five prosecution witnesses who testified that Cosby had also drugged and raped them. Two years ago the once-popular comedian and actor was found guilty of drugging...

FAA issues new first air certificate for Boeing 737 MAX since 2019

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued its first airworthiness certificate for a Boeing 737 MAX built since March 2019, the agency said on Tuesday. The FAA on Nov. 18 lifted a 20-month-old grounding order on the MAX after two fatal crashes in five months killed 346 people. The FAA is requiring...

German energy regulator awards first permits to close coal plants

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s energy regulator on Tuesday said some 4,788 megawatts (MW) of hard coal-fired power generation capacity will cease to be marketable from Jan. 1, 2021 as part of a policy to take carbon-polluting capacity out of the market. The move reflects Germany’s commitment to ending the fossil fuels age, idling the equivalent...

Chemsex and needle sharing among elements of HIV risk

Chemsex has been referred to as “another element” of HIV risk among intravenous drug users. UNAIDS Pacific Office country director Renata Ram said in recent years, the use of synthetic drugs had increased and the two elements of HIV risk included the sharing of needles when consuming these drugs. “Another element is through chemsex. This...

Iranian MPs seek hardening of nuclear stance after scientist killed

DUBAI (Reuters) – A bill requiring Iran’s government to suspend nuclear inspections unless sanctions are lifted, and ignore other restraints on its nuclear programme agreed with major powers, was passed by the hardline-led parliament on Tuesday. But the government promptly said the move, proposed in response to the assassination of a top nuclear scientist on...

17 graduate from Methodist Lay Training Centre

Seventeen people today graduated with a Diploma in Lay Ministry from the Methodist Lay Training Centre in Davuilevu. Centre registrar Reverend Iliesa Tagilo said the students also graduated with certificates in fire training from the National Fire Authority and Certificate in Vegetable Farming facilitated by the Taiwanese Technical Mission. He said in the beginning, there...

French rescuers rig crane to help obese man stuck in home

PERPIGNAN, France (Reuters) – French rescuers had to go to extremes to evacuate a man suffering from morbid obesity from his flat on Tuesday, after he was immobilized in his home following an accident last year. Some 50 rescuers and a crane were used in the operation in the southern city of Perpignan. Estimated to...

Workplaces becoming safer, not necessarily healthier – Minister

Workplaces are becoming safer to work in but not necessarily healthier. That was the word from Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete who made the comment at the annual Movember shave-off held at the US Ambassador’s residence in Suva on Monday early this week. “In a lot of workplaces, there is a lot...

Church presents wheelbarrows to boys association

Four young men were chosen from more than 100 members of the Wheelbarrow Boys Association and were presented with a wheelbarrow each as part of the Rhapsody of Realities initiative by Christ Embassy Suva Central Church yesterday. The Head of the State of Appeal’s department of the church, Navi Tuivuniwai, said the donation was only...

Drones plant trees from the sky after U.S. wildfires

(Reuters) – After record wildfires ravaged the U.S. West Coast, replanting trees amid the apocalyptic, ash-covered landscape is a daunting task. Seattle-based startup DroneSeed says its fleet of drones can plant trees six times faster than human hands. “We’re losing forest faster to wildfire than nature is regenerating it. And our systems today with nurseries...

FSC CEO Graham Clark during a press conference at FSC Head Quarters in Lautoka yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

FSC advertises for new CEO

Fiji Sugar Corporation has announced that its chief executive officer Graham Clark is leaving the company. FSC chairman Vishnu Mohan has said the Board of FSC had already advertised the position. “Graham did not re-apply for the position as advertised, but will remain in office until the end of February 2021,” said Mr Mohan. “The...

Freesoul has no approval to work on Malolo, Environment director tells court

Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) PTE Limited currently does not have any approval from the Department of Environment to carry out any works on Malolo Island. This was revealed by Environment Director Sandeep Singh while giving evidence during trial before Suva Magistrate Seini Paumau today. Ms Singh took the stand today and told the court that...

Pakistan approves initial funds to purchase COVID-19 vaccine

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan on Tuesday approved $150 million in funding to buy COVID-19 vaccines, initially to cover the most vulnerable 5% of the population, the de facto health minister said. The initial phase of vaccinations would focus on providing free shots for frontline health workers and people above the age of 65 years, Faisal...

China successfully lands spacecraft on moon to retrieve lunar rocks

BEIJING (Reuters) – China successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon’s surface on Tuesday in a historic mission to retrieve lunar surface samples, Chinese state media reported. China launched its Chang’e-5 probe on Nov. 24. The uncrewed mission, named after the mythical Chinese goddess of the moon, aims to collect lunar material to help scientists...

Pacific island countries and China acknowledge mutual partnerships

In the second vice Minister’s Special Meeting held earlier this week, the People’s Republic of China and the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) have acknowledged the partnership in mutual areas of interest and reaffirmed commitment to upscale collaboration in rebuilding and recovery efforts for the regional and global prosperity. The virtual meeting was co-chaired by the...

Climate risk insurance solutions to be available to Pacific islanders

A market-based climate risk insurance solutions will now be made available to Pacific islanders. This, after the launch of the Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme by the New Zealand High Commissioner Jonathan Curr. The initiative is designed to improve financial preparedness for homes, communities, small businesses and organisations and would begin with Fiji and Vanuatu. Mr...

EU Commission to authorise COVID-19 vaccines days after regulatory approval

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission is likely to give the final authorisation for the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines days after the EU drug regulator approves them, a spokesman for the EU executive said on Tuesday. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said earlier on Tuesday it planned to decide whether to approve the vaccine being...

Bosnia’s ‘Oxygen Man’ brings cheer, and supplies, to COVID-19 patients

KONJIC, Bosnia (Reuters) – Miralem Sabic Mika, known as the “Oxygen Man” in his native town of Konjic, has become a local hero for helping coronavirus patients breathe easier and comforting them with warm words and laughter. Sabic, a 57-year-old war veteran, drives his old van to the capital Sarajevo around 38 miles (61 km)...

Australian telescope maps deep space at record speed

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A powerful new telescope in outback Australia has mapped vast areas of the universe in record-breaking time, revealing a million new galaxies and opening the way to new discoveries, the country’s national science agency said on Tuesday. The A$188 million ($138 million) radio telescope, dubbed the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP),...

Fiji achieves milestone as it leads the world to validate Target E data

A major milestone has been achieved today as Fiji takes lead in the world to validate the Target E data of the 2015 Sendai Framework. “Target E is a measure that estimates the number of countries and local actors that have Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategies in place. Its goal is to: Substantially increase the...

RBF: Personal remittances to Fiji increased in first 10 months

Personal remittances to Fiji increase by 7.3 per cent to $521.0m in the first 10 months of this year, the Reserve Bank of Fiji has reported. For the month of October alone, personal remittances totaled a record $69.0m, which represented a 29.5 per cent increase over the previous month, and an increase of 58.7 per...

UK to rule on trans clinic giving teens puberty-blocking drugs

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A British court will rule on Tuesday whether children aged 17 and under will need a judge’s approval to take puberty-blocking drugs in a landmark case that comes amid a global debate about the age at which a child can choose to transition gender. Lawyers for Keira Bell, 23, who...

MoU signed to run Ratu Sukuna tournament

The Republic of Fiji Military Force, Fiji Police Force and FMF Foods Limited have signed a three-year sponsorship towards running the Ratu Sukuna tournament. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Acting Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu, RFMF Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto and FMF Foods Limited Group Operations Manager Jimi Taniela. The RFMF is...

Papuans rally for independence from Indonesia as group declares govt in exile

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Hundreds of Papuans held rallies across at least eight cities in Indonesia on Tuesday to renew calls for independence, as a separatist group declared it had established a provisional government in exile. The demonstrations marked the anniversary of West Papua declaring independence from Dutch rule in 1961, which was followed by a...

Scott Atlas resigns as special adviser to Trump on coronavirus

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Dr. Scott Atlas has resigned as special adviser to President Donald Trump, a White House official said on Monday, after a controversial four months during which he clashed repeatedly with other members of the coronavirus task force. Voters’ unhappiness with Trump’s response to the global pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands...

Australia partners with U.S. to develop hypersonic missiles

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will jointly develop hypersonic cruise missiles with the United States in a bid to counter China and Russia which are developing similar weapons, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said on Tuesday. “We will continue to invest in advanced capabilities to give the Australian Defence Force more options to deter aggression against Australia’s...

Vietnam steps up online crackdown, jailed activists at record high – Amnesty

HANOI (Reuters) – The number of jailed activists in Vietnam has reached its highest on record, according to a tally by Amnesty International, which in a report on Tuesday accused Facebook and Google of censorship in the Southeast Asian country. There are at least 170 “prisoners of conscience” in Vietnam, the report said, of which...

Shell faces Dutch court as climate change activists demand end to emissions

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell will face a Dutch court on Tuesday in the first hearing of a case brought on by environmentalist and human rights groups who demand the energy firm cuts its reliance on fossil fuels. Seven activist groups, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Netherlands, filed the lawsuit in April...

Britain and EU warn that time is running out for Brexit trade deal

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – Britain and the European Union warned each other on Monday that time was running out to reach a Brexit trade deal, with big differences still to be bridged on state aid, enforcement and fishing. The United Kingdom leaves the EU’s orbit on Dec. 31, when a transition period of informal membership ends...

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