World

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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),...

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...

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...

Elton John calls for wider HIV testing to end new cases in England by 2030

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Singer Elton John has joined leading British HIV/AIDS charities in calling for wider HIV testing to halt new transmissions in England within a decade, amid concerns that COVID-19 has affected access to tests and medication. To mark Worlds AIDS Day on Tuesday, England’s first HIV Commission – established by the...

Biden names top economic advisers as Arizona, Wisconsin certify vote results

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Joe Biden named several women to his top economic policy team on Monday, including former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary nominee, setting the stage for diversity and a focus on recovery from the pandemic. The advisers, several of whom would need to be approved by the...

WHO worried COVID ‘amnesia’ will lead to another pandemic

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization’s top emergency expert said on Monday that the world risked future pandemics if it suffered “amnesia” and did not learn from the current coronavirus crisis. “I have seen the amnesia that seems to descend upon the world after a traumatic event, and that’s understandable,” Mike Ryan told a...

Botswana sets up gender violence courts to tackle pandemic backlog

GABORONE (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Botswana will launch 25 gender violence courts this week following a rise in cases during the coronavirus pandemic – a measure women’s campaigners hope will bring swifter justice to victims of sexual and domestic abuse. The government of the southern African country moved to establish the courts after women’s rights...

1st December

Biden urged to extend U.S.-Russia arms treaty for full 5 years without conditions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Arms control advocates are urging Joe Biden to extend the last U.S.-Russian treaty limiting deployed strategic nuclear arms for five years, but some experts argue the U.S. president-elect should go for a shorter period to maintain leverage over Moscow. Upon taking office on Jan. 20, Biden faces an immediate decision on whether...

Bulgarian doctors exhausted as COVID deaths hit record

SOFIA (Reuters) – With coronavirus death rates surging to record levels in Bulgaria, doctors and nurses in a health service already weakened by decades of emigration to the West say they are exhausted. “Look at our nurse here, she was positive, had high fever … and now she is back at work,” said Aleksandar Stanoevski,...

Somalia expels Kenyan ambassador over ‘interference’

MOGADISHU (Reuters) – Somalia expelled Kenya’s ambassador and recalled its own envoy from Nairobi after accusing its neighbour of interfering in the electoral process in Jubbaland, one of Somalia’s five semi-autonomous states. Relations between the countries have been tense over the ownership of potential oil and gas deposits, some of which lie off the coast...

French health body says nursing homes should get COVID-19 vaccine first

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s top health advisory body said on Monday it had recommended COVID-19 vaccinations should target retirement homes residents and their staff first when doses reach the country. Haute Autorite de la Sante (HAS) suggested rolling out the campaign in stages and on a voluntary basis, like in many other countries. President Emmanuel...

Islamists attack three French military bases in Mali

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Al Qaeda-linked Islamist fighters rocketed French military bases in Kidal, Menaka and Gao in northern Mali within the space of a few hours on Monday morning, a rare sign of coordinated raids on international forces. The camps were hit by “indirect fire”, although no deaths or injuries were reported, said Thomas Romiguier,...

Indonesian president says brutal Sulawesi slayings beyond humanity

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday condemned the brutal murder of four villagers by suspected Islamist militants as “beyond the limits of humanity”, as the military chief prepared to deploy special forces to join the hunt for the killers. In a video address, the president said the attack on Friday in a...

Two coronavirus vaccines available in U.S. in coming weeks – U.S. health secretary

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The first two vaccines against the novel coronavirus could be available to Americans before Christmas, Health Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday, after Moderna Inc became the second vaccine maker likely to receive U.S. emergency authorization. The Food and Drug Administration’s outside advisers will meet on Dec. 10 to consider authorizing Pfizer...

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