World

24th August

Brazil prosecutors probe surge in Amazon deforestation and fires

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors in Brazil said on Thursday they will investigate a spike in deforestation and wildfires raging in the Amazon state of Pará to determine whether there has been reduced monitoring and...

23rd August

French mayors ban glyphosate weedkiller, defying government

RENNES, France (Reuters) – Some 20 French mayors have banned glyphosate from their municipalities, defying the government, which is now taking legal action to impose national legislation which allows the controversial weedkiller’s continued use for now. In 2017, President Emmanuel Macron had pledged to ban glyphosate in France within three years, rejecting a European Union...

Michael Jackson’s ex-publicist touts foundation to ‘protect’ legacy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former publicist for Michael Jackson on Thursday announced plans for a charitable foundation not affiliated with the late pop singer’s family or estate, intended to defend and promote the legacy of the controversial entertainer. Raymone Bain, who represented Jackson in 2005 and 2006, said the Michael Jackson Legacy Foundation would seek...

‘People were hiding’: Bangladesh bid to repatriate Rohingya stalls as refugees refuse

COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh (Reuters) – An attempt to begin repatriating thousands of Rohingya Muslims living in camps in Bangladesh stalled on Thursday after nearly 300 refugee families refused to go back to Myanmar, almost a year after a similar effort failed amid protests. Last week, the neighbours said they had agreed Aug. 22 as the...

London Zoo launches its trickiest annual task – the weigh-in

LONDON (Reuters) – Bullfrogs, pythons and penguins were among creatures being coaxed onto the scales at London Zoo this week for the annual check on their weight and size. The check-up allows keepers to assess the animals’ general health, find out about pregnancies, when they are about to moult, and help to administer medicines according...

Trade in giraffes to be regulated for first time: CITES

GENEVA (Reuters) – Countries voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to regulate international trade in giraffes, an endangered species, and in their skins and other parts, overcoming objections by southern African states and drawing praise from conservationists. The provisional decision, taken in a key committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), is expected...

Indonesia arrests 34, blocks internet in Papua to curb protests

TIMIKA/JAKARTA, Indonesia (Reuters) – Indonesia has arrested 34 people and cut internet access in its easternmost region of Papua to rein in violence after protesters torched buildings, a market and a prison over mistreatment of students and perceived ethnic discrimination. Police have flown in 1,200 more officers to quell sometimes violent protests since Monday in...

Nigeria’s three-year milestone takes Africa towards polio eradication

ABUJA/LONDON (Reuters) – Nigeria marked three years free of endemic wild polio on Wednesday, with health officials saying the nation’s progress in fighting the crippling viral disease could result in the whole of Africa being declared polio-free early next year. The three-year milestone sets in motion a continent-wide process to ensure that all 47 countries...

Interpol issues red notice for former Colombian guerrilla leader

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Interpol on Thursday issued a red notice for a fugitive Colombian lawmaker and former FARC rebel commander who the United States wants extradited for alleged conspiracy to export 10 tonnes of cocaine. Seuxis Paucias Hernandez – known best by his guerrilla nom de guerre Jesus Santrich – was indicted in 2017 by...

Exclusive: India proposes ban on e-cigarettes, with jail terms for offenders – government documents

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s health ministry has proposed a ban on the production and import of electronic cigarettes, documents seen by Reuters showed, potentially jeopardizing the expansion plans of big firms like Juul Labs and Philip Morris International. The ministry has proposed that the government issue an executive order banning the devices in the...

Earth to FEDOR: Russia launches humanoid robot into space

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian humanoid robot was making its way on Thursday to the International Space Station after blasting off on a two-week mission to support the crew and test his skills. Known as FEDOR, which stands for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research, the Skybot F-850 is the first humanoid robot to be sent...

Uganda demands financial records, donor lists of NGOs

KAMPALA (Reuters) – Non-governmental organizations in Uganda have been told to submit financial information including budgets and donor lists to the authorities, an official told Reuters on Thursday, in a move rights groups said was another attempt to muzzle criticism. The government of veteran leader President Yoweri Museveni, 74, has long chafed at criticism from...

Canary Islands wildfire stable but continues to burn, acting PM says

VALLESECO, Gran Canaria, Spain (Reuters) – A wildfire in the popular tourist island of Gran Canaria has been stabilised but continues to burn, Spain’s acting prime minister said on Thursday, promising that the thousands affected by the fire would get help in rebuilding. The blaze began on Saturday near the town of Tejeda before quickly...

South Korea’s top court to rule on Samsung heir’s bribery case on Aug 29

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s Supreme Court is to rule next Thursday on whether to uphold a reduced sentence given to Samsung Group heir Jay Y. Lee or ask an appeals court to revisit a case that was part of a graft scandal that brought down the president in 2017. The ruling will be a...

Hamdok sworn in as Sudan’s new prime minister

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Abdalla Hamdok, an economist who has served in international institutions, was sworn in as Sudan’s prime minister in the country’s transitional government on Wednesday. Ten members of Sudan’s new sovereign council, the country’s ruling body per a three-year transition agreement, were sworn in earlier on Wednesday. Hamdok is expected to form a...

Parkland massacre survivors post sweeping U.S. gun-control plan ahead of 2020 election

(Reuters) – Survivors of the Parkland, Florida, high school massacre on Wednesday released a sweeping gun-control plan that would ban assault-style rifles and take other steps in hopes of halving U.S. firearms deaths and injuries within a decade. The group’s leaders addressed the proposal, which includes a measure to register more young voters, to 2020...

HHS to provide $23 million to Merck for Ebola vaccine production

(Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on Wednesday it will fund the manufacturing of Merck & Co Inc’s investigational Ebola vaccine called V920, in response to the outbreak of the deadly virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Ebola hemorrhagic fever has killed at least 1,900...

Obamas make their Hollywood movie debut with ‘American Factory’

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Barack and Michelle Obama made their Hollywood debut on Wednesday with a documentary set in industrial Ohio that film reviewers are calling compelling and timely. “American Factory,” the story of what happened when a Chinese company took over an abandoned General Motors plant, is the first product of a multi-year collaboration...

First-time U.S. home buyers face supply struggle as rates fall

(Reuters) – Mortgage rates are at a three-year low and housing price appreciation has cooled, but many Americans seeking to buy their first home are facing tough times. Why? There just aren’t enough homes for sale. Developers have struggled to build enough new homes, especially at entry-level prices, because of land and labor shortages and...

Conservation, animal rights groups sue Trump over weakening U.S. wildlife protections

(Reuters) – Environmental and animal rights groups on Wednesday sued the Trump administration over its proposal to revise the U.S. Endangered Species Act, seeking to block changes that they say will roll back protections of animals at risk of extinction. The 1970s-era ESA is credited with bringing back from the brink of extinction species such...

Dozens of Airbus A380s face urgent checks after cracked part dug from ice

LONDON (Reuters) – Investigators probing an engine explosion on an Air France A380 in 2017 are studying a possible manufacturing flaw in a recently salvaged cracked part in a move likely to trigger urgent checks on dozens of Airbus superjumbos, people familiar with the matter said. The focus of a two-year-old investigation into the mid-air...

Thousands of Central American migrants take free rides home courtesy of U.S. government

(Reuters) – More than 2,000 Central American migrants seeking to settle in the United States have given up and accepted free rides home under a 10-month-old program funded by the U.S. government and run by a United Nations agency, according to a U.N. official. The “Assisted Voluntary Return” program has paid for buses or flights...

Trump: A vote for a Democrat is a vote against Israel

(Reuters) – President Donald Trump beat back criticism of his comments accusing American Jews who vote for Democrats of “great disloyalty” and went a step further on Wednesday, saying any vote for a Democrat is a vote against Israel. “I think that if you vote for a Democrat you are very, very disloyal to Israel...

22nd August

U.S. drone shot down over Yemen – officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. military MQ-9 drone was shot down in Yemen’s Dhamar governate, southeast of the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Wednesday, the second such incident in recent months. A Houthi military spokesman had earlier said that air defences had brought down a U.S. drone. The officials, speaking on...

Texas executes man convicted of abducting, killing college student

(Reuters) – Texas on Wednesday put to death a man found guilty of the rape and murder of a 19-year-old college student in an execution that followed arguments from the inmate’s attorneys that authorities ignored key evidence that would exonerate him. Larry Swearingen, 48, who had professed his innocence in the case, was given a...

Good things come in threes! Tapir gives birth to third baby at Belgian zoo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A Malayan tapir gave birth to its third baby at Antwerp Zoo in the north of Belgium last week, marking another success for the zoo which has been breeding the endangered species for 29 years. Tapirs, identified by a light-coloured patch which runs from the middle of their belly to their rear...

Captain of migrant rescue vessel refuses honour from Paris

PARIS (Reuters) – The German captain of rescue ships that saved hundreds of migrants’ lives in the Mediterranean has turned down Paris’s highest civilian award, accusing the city of hypocrisy over the treatment of migrants. Paris awarded Pia Klemp and her compatriot Carola Rakete the Grand Vermeil Medal in July for their repeated bravery in...

Nigeria’s three-year milestone takes Africa towards polio eradication

ABUJA/LONDON (Reuters) – Nigeria marked three years free of endemic wild polio on Wednesday with health officials saying the nation’s progress in fighting the crippling viral disease could result in the whole of Africa being declared polio-free early next year. The three-year milestone sets in motion a continent-wide process to ensure that all 47 countries...

Marijuana may undermine fertility treatment success

(Reuters Health) – Women undergoing fertility treatment who smoke marijuana may have more success if they quit, recent research suggests. Among more than 400 women undergoing treatment with assisted-reproduction technology (ART), the small fraction who reported using cannabis at the time were more than twice as likely to lose a pregnancy than those who had...

Tens of thousands flee Russia-led attack on Syrian opposition enclave

AMMAN (Reuters) – Ten of thousands of people have fled to Syria’s border with Turkey in the last few days as a Syrian army advance pushed further into the opposition’s last major stronghold, residents, rights groups and opposition sources said on Wednesday. They left Maarat al-Numan, a city in Idlib province that has been a...

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