World

19th April

Climate-change protesters disrupt London docklands train service

LONDON (Reuters) – Two environmental activists climbed onto the roof of a train in London’s Canary Wharf financial district on Wednesday as part of a third day of action to force Britain to take more...

Iraq parliament bans online battle games, citing ‘negative’ influence

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s parliament voted on Wednesday to ban popular online video games including PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, citing their “negative” influence especially on the young in a country long plagued by real-life bloodshed. Iraq held its first election in 2018 after years of devastating factional violence. Islamic State militants held wide swathes of...

Transgender teenager from Brunei seeks asylum in Canada

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Zoella Zayce displays no photos of her family in her basement apartment in Vancouver, thousands of miles from where she left them in Brunei. The 19-year-old refugee claimant is a transgender woman, something she never told the family she describes as conservative. Back home, family and friends sometimes asked if she was...

Butterflies swarm Lebanon’s meadows in numbers unseen for 100 years

ZAAROUR, Lebanon (Reuters) – A vast number of migrating butterflies have swarmed across Lebanon this year after heavy winter rain in the Middle East led to an exceptional spring for wild flowers. “The last time this migration happened in this way was back in 1917,” said Magda Bou Dagher Kharrat, a professor in plant genetics...

Portugal’s energy crisis worsens as fuel-tanker strike drags

LISBON (Reuters) – Energy shortages in Portugal sharpened on Wednesday as a strike by fuel-tanker drivers entered its third day in the worst industrial unrest of the Socialist government’s four-year rule. Panicked motorists formed long lines at petrol stations, some crossing into Spain to refuel, while at airports reserves reached critically low levels in the...

Trump attorney general’s ruling expands indefinite detention for asylum seekers

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The U.S. Attorney General on Tuesday struck down a decision that had allowed some asylum seekers to ask for bond in front of an immigration judge, in a ruling that expands indefinite detention for some migrants who must wait months or years for their cases to be heard. The first...

18th April

Rome’s “Holy Stairs” bared for first time in 300 years

ROME (Reuters) – Rome’s “Holy Stairs,” which some Catholics believe were climbed by Jesus in Jerusalem, have been uncovered from a protective wooden casing for the first time in nearly three centuries and restored. The 28 marble steps will remain bare temporarily for devout pilgrims to climb on their knees with direct contact with the...

Ebola survivors comfort sick and frightened in Congo outbreak

BENI, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – Wearing a disposable gown and gloves for protection, Jeanine Masika cradles a 2-year-old Ebola patient and offers the listless toddler teaspoons of brown soup. Most health care workers need a surgical mask, goggles, hooded coveralls, an apron, rubber boots and two pairs of gloves to avoid catching the...

Hong Kong Airlines faces more uncertainty as chairman challenges his removal

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong Airlines, partially owned by China’s HNA Group, was thrown into deeper uncertainty on Wednesday after Hou Wei disputed a decision that removed him as chairman and said he was still in charge of the struggling carrier. Former Hong Kong Airlines director Zhong Guosong announced on Tuesday he had been...

Myanmar pardons more than 9,000 prisoners in New Year amnesty

YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar began releasing more than 9,000 prisoners on Wednesday, with many drug offenders among the first to walk free, but just two political detainees, after the president declared an amnesty on the first day of the traditional New Year. President Win Myint said 9,535 local prisoners, and 16 foreigners, had been pardoned...

Pained Pope pays tribute to Notre-Dame firefighters

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Wednesday thanked rescuers who put their lives at risk to salvage the medieval Catholic cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris from a devastating blaze and said he was eager to see it restored. “The gratitude of the entire Church goes to those who did everything in their power to...

Ancient Christian manuscripts digitised at monastery beneath Mount Sinai

ST. CATHERINE’S, EGYPT – (Reuters) – At St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Egypt’s Mount Sinai, the silence in the library is broken only by low electrical humming, as an early manuscript is bathed in green light. A team from Greece are photographing thousands of fragile manuscripts, including some of the earliest copies of...

Uganda says it is willing to consider asylum for Sudan’s ousted leader Bashir

KAMPALA (Reuters) – Uganda will consider offering asylum to ousted Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir despite his indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC), a foreign affairs minister said on Wednesday. “Uganda would not be apologetic at all for considering an application by Bashir,” Okello Oryem, Uganda’s state minister for foreign affairs, told Reuters in Kampala....

Preaching to the converted: Swedish teen climate activist gets pope’s blessing

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg brought her campaign to the Vatican on Wednesday and met Pope Francis, who sees eye-to-eye with her on the dangers of climate change. The Swede, 16, sat in the front row at the pope’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square and when he greeted her, she...

Botswana shows off country’s largest-ever blue diamond

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Botswana’s state-owned Okavango Diamond Company displayed a 20-carat gemstone on Wednesday that it said was the largest blue diamond ever discovered in the country, one of the world’s top producers of natural stones. Blue diamonds are sought after for their colour and rarity. The 45-carat Hope Diamond is probably the best known....

Portugal’s truck drivers to meet essential supplies as fuel dries up

LISBON (Reuters) – Striking fuel-tanker drivers in Portugal have agreed to provide essential supplies to emergency services such as hospitals and airports, the government said on Wednesday, but the strike continued, worsening fuel shortages in cities and towns across the country. Portugal declared an energy crisis on Tuesday night after the strike forced it to...

Ukraine says it captured Russian military intelligence hit squad

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s security service SBU said on Wednesday it had captured a Russian military intelligence hit squad responsible for the attempted murder of a Ukrainian military spy in the run-up to a presidential election on Sunday. The issue of how to deal with Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014 and backs pro-Russian separatists...

Back on Earth, China’s Mars simulation base greets first visitors

JINCHANG, China (Reuters) – About 100 excited Chinese teenagers completed a five-hour tour of a space colony against a desolate backdrop not unlike the desert planet of Tatooine, the home world of Luke Skywalker. They were not on the set of Star Wars, but at a Chinese-built Mars simulation base in the barren, windswept hills...

London climate-change street protest arrests reach 290 on second day

LONDON (Reuters) – Police have arrested 290 people in two days of protests after climate-change activists blocked some of London’s most important junctions including Oxford Circus and Marble Arch, causing traffic chaos. The protests, led by British climate group Extinction Rebellion, brought parts of central London to a standstill again on Tuesday. Extinction Rebellion, which...

Minnesota student sues China’s JD.com CEO Liu with allegation of rape

(Reuters) – A University of Minnesota student who said she was raped last August by Richard Liu, the chief executive officer of China’s e-commerce retailer JD.com Inc, filed a civil lawsuit against him in a Minneapolis court on Tuesday, nearly four months after prosecutors declined to press criminal charges. Liu, through his lawyers, maintained his...

Portugal declares ‘energy crisis’ as fuel supply runs low

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal declared an “energy crisis” on Tuesday after a strike by fuel truck drivers hit the country, forcing the government to order striking workers to get back on the road immediately as airports resorted to emergency reserves. Demanding better workers’ rights, fuel truck drivers started a strike on Monday but guaranteed the...

Christianity grows in Syrian town once besieged by Islamic State

KOBANI, Syria (Reuters) – A community of Syrians who converted to Christianity from Islam is growing in Kobani, a town besieged by Islamic State for months, and where the tide turned against the militants four years ago. The converts say the experience of war and the onslaught of a group claiming to fight for Islam...

FDA orders transvaginal surgical mesh pulled from market

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday ordered makers of transvaginal surgical mesh implants to immediately stop their sale and distribution in the United States, the latest action by the agency to tackle safety issues related to the devices. The FDA said Boston Scientific Corp and Coloplast A/S did not demonstrate a...

Algerian military considering all options to end crisis

ALGIERS (Reuters) – Algeria’s army chief said on Tuesday the military was considering all options to resolve the national political crisis and warned “time is running out”, after weeks of anti-government protests. Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaed Salah’s remarks were the strongest indication yet that the military, which has said it supports a transition period after the...

Venezuelan scavengers vie with vultures for Brazilian trash

PACARAIMA, Brazil (Reuters) – Surrounded by vultures perched on trees awaiting their turn, Venezuelan migrants scrape out a living scavenging for metal, plastic, cardboard and food in a Brazilian border town’s rubbish dump. Trapped in a wasteland limbo, they barely make enough to feed their families and cannot afford a bus ticket to get away...

Ebola is real, Congo president tells sceptical population

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday implored people in areas hit by the nation’s worst-ever Ebola outbreak to accept the disease is real and trust health workers. Mistrust of first responders and widespread misinformation propagated by some community leaders has led many in affected areas of eastern Democratic...

First shipment of Red Cross humanitarian aid arrives in Venezuela

CARACAS (Reuters) – The first shipment of humanitarian aid from the Red Cross intended to alleviate a dire economic crisis in Venezuela arrived in the once-prosperous, oil-rich country on Tuesday, a representative of the organisation and a lawmaker said. The delivery came after an about-face by President Nicolas Maduro, who last week said his socialist...

Kenyan family files lawsuit against Boeing over Ethiopian Airlines crash

NAIROBI (Reuters) – A Kenyan family has filed a lawsuit in Chicago against American aviation giant Boeing over a March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people, lawyers and family members said on Tuesday. Siblings of 29-year-old engineer George Kabau said they wanted to force the company to release documents and emails relating to...

17th April

Twitter suspends 100k accounts for creating new ones after suspension

(Reuters) – Twitter Inc said on Tuesday it had suspended 100,000 accounts for creating new accounts after a suspension during January-March period, a 45 percent increase from last year. “Previously, we only reviewed potentially abusive Tweets if they were reported to us. We know that’s not acceptable, so earlier this year we made it a...

India’s Jet Airways faces imminent shutdown without emergency funds: sources

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s Jet Airways Ltd will be forced to shut down as soon as Wednesday if it does not get emergency funding from its lenders, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. Bankers and an Indian government official said lenders are trying to line up funds to keep aloft the...

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