Coast guard saves migrants
The coast guard yesterday said it rescued 40 migrants stuck on an island after they attempted the crossing to Greece. Two helicopters and one boat were dispatched following a rescue request call by a migrant. Aerial footage showed groups of people on an island off the coast of the western province of Balikesir. Videos showed coast guard officers aiding women and children to board its ship.
Rick Scott wins Senate seat
Outgoing Florida Governor Rick Scott has narrowly won a Senate seat in a bitterly contested race with Senator Bill Nelson, official results showed on Sunday. Nelson conceded the seat he has held for three terms since 2001 after a machine and hand recount showed that Scott had edged out the Democrat by just more than 10,000 votes, or 50.05 percent to 49.93 percent, official final results showed. “Well, things worked out a little differently than Grace and I had hoped,” Nelson said in a video message posted on social media. He also warned of a “gathering darkness” in US politics.
Residents flee volcano
Disaster coordination authorities have asked eight communities to evacuate and go to safe areas after an increased eruption of the Volcano of Fire. The communities have about 2,000 residents, but each community can decide whether to evacuate or not. Antigua al Rescate, an organization that helped communities after a devastating eruption in June, and a newspaper in the capital reported that at least three communities were doing so. The volcano is located in the south-central part of the country. National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction spokesman David de Leon said that monitoring of the volcano’s activity on Sunday showed that the intensity of the eruption was being maintained, so the evacuation was called for to protect people.
Bloomberg funds alma mater
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg on Sunday said that he would donate US$1.8 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, to boost financial aid for low and middle-income students. The university in Baltimore, Maryland, said that the contribution — the largest ever to any educational institution in the nation — would allow it to eliminate student loans in financial aid packages starting next fall. The university would instead offer scholarships that do not have to be repaid. University president Ronald Daniels said that Bloomberg’s contribution would also let the institution permanently commit to “need-blind admissions,” or the principle of admitting the highest-achieving students, regardless of their ability to pay for their education. “America is at its best when we reward people based on the quality of their work, not the size of their pocketbook,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Denying students entry to a college based on their ability to pay undermines equal opportunity.”
Sect massacre remembered
Ceremonies at a California cemetery marked the mass murders and suicides 40 years ago of 900 Americans orchestrated by the reverend Jim Jones at a jungle settlement in Guyana. The remains of more than 400 Jonestown victims are buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland. Jones’ adopted son, Jim Jones Jr, and other former Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ members on Sunday conducted a service at granite slabs bearing names of all 918 who died in Guyana on Nov. 18, 1978.
Waste import ban expanding
The government is to expand its ban on imports of solid waste, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. The move, which expands the prohibition to 32 categories of solid waste from the 24 banned last year, is to go into effect from Dec. 31, Xinhua said, citing four government agencies. Newly banned product types include hardware, ships, auto parts, stainless steel waste and scrap, titanium and wood, Xinhua said.
No to foreign bases
Phnom Penh will not allow foreign military bases on its soil, Prime Minister Hun Sen said during a Cabinet meeting yesterday, dismissing concerns about a possible Chinese naval facility. “I have received a letter from Mike Pence, US vice president, regarding concerns that there will be a China naval base in Cambodia,” he said during a live broadcast on Facebook. “The constitution of Cambodia bans the presence of foreign troops or military bases in its territory ... whether naval forces, infantry forces or air forces.” He said he would reply to Pence “to make him understand clearly about the issue.”
Xi holds talks with sultan
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday was treated to an official welcome at Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s enormous, golden-domed palace yesterday. Xi arrived late on Sunday for a three-day state visit after the APEC summit wrapped up in Papua New Guinea. Xi and the sultan issued a joint statement after their talks yesterday in which Brunei said it would “continue to support and jointly promote cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative,” Xinhua reported.
Temple protesters arrested
Police late on Sunday arrested 68 people taking part in overnight protests around the Sabarimala Dharma Sastha Temple in Kerala state ahead of a Supreme Court ruling yesterday on whether it should be given more time to let women enter. Police said many of those arrested had been protesting against a ban on spending the night on the hilltop around the temple.
No deal from Qatar talks
A three-day meeting last week between the Taliban and US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar to pave the way for peace talks ended with no agreement, the group said yesterday. “These were preliminary talks and no agreement was reached on any issue,” spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement. The US embassy in Kabul declined to comment. On Sunday, Khalilzad declared a deadline of April to end the 17-year-long war, timed to coincide with national elections. However, his public statement that the Taliban believe they will “not win militarily” angered senior members of the group, who told US officials that mixed messages that could muddle the peace process.
Hunt in Tehran for talks
British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jeremy Hunt yesterday met his counterpart, Mohammed Javad Zarif, shortly after arriving in Tehran. Media reports said the nuclear deal with world powers was on the agenda, as well as an agreement aimed at facilitating financial transactions. Hunt was also expected to raise the case of charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested in April 2016 and accused of plotting against the government.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
SURGE CONTINUES: India recorded its steepest spike of more than 57,000 new virus cases in 24 hours, as Vietnam went from no virus deaths to reporting three South Korean prosecutors yesterday arrested the elderly leader of a secretive religious sect as part of an investigation into allegations that the church hampered the government’s COVID-19 response after thousands of worshipers were infected in February and March. Prosecutors in the central city of Suwon have been questioning 88-year-old Lee Man-hee, chairman of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, over charges that the church hid some members and underreported gatherings to avoid broader quarantines. The Suwon District Court granted prosecutors’ request to arrest Lee over concerns that he could temper with evidence. Lee and his church have steadfastly denied the accusations, saying they are