Five die in escape room
Five teenage girls died and one man was seriously injured on Friday when a fire broke out in a room where they were playing an escape game in the city of Koszalin, officials said. “The victims of this tragedy are 15-year-old children, girls celebrating a birthday,” Minister of the Interior Joachim Brudzinski told broadcaster TVN24. Fire brigade spokesman Tomasz Kubiak could only confirm that the dead were women, telling reporters that “one man with severe burns was taken to an intensive care unit.” The injured man was thought to be 25 years old, local police told reporters. Police and fire officials said they did not yet know what started the blaze in the escape room.
Maduro urged to step down
A dozen Latin American governments and Canada on Friday delivered a blistering rebuke to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, questioning the legitimacy of his soon-to-begin second term and urging him to hand over power as the only path to restoring democracy in his crisis-wracked South American country. The sharp criticism came at a meeting in Lima of foreign ministers from countries including Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, all of which have been weighing how to confront the increasingly authoritarian Maduro while absorbing a growing exodus of Venezuelans fleeing economic chaos. In a statement, the Lima Group urged Maduro to refrain from taking the presidential oath on Thursday and instead cede power to the opposition-controlled congress until new, fairer elections can be held.
Bolsonaro mulls US base
The country is open to hosting a US military base to counter Russian influence in the region, President Jair Bolsonaro said. Bolsonaro, who took office on Tuesday, is a fan of US President Donald Trump and a fierce critic of Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro, who has close ties with Russia. In an interview with the SBT network Thursday night, Bolsonaro said that “my approximation with the United States is economic, but it could also be warlike,” adding that the base would be “symbolic,” as US military power can reach any part of the globe.
Police close migrant shelter
Police on Friday took steps to close a migrant shelter in Tijuana, sparking protests from some of the dozens of US-bound people who had been staying there after traveling in a caravan from Central America. The arrival of several thousand migrants in the past few months has challenged the country’s new president to make good on pledges to protect migrants. Tijuana officials cited sanitary reasons for closing the shelter, a two-story warehouse in a zone known for crime and prostitution near the US border.
New envoy to be appointed
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday agreed to appoint a new envoy to Somalia after its president refused to reverse a decision to expel a representative for raising human rights concerns. Guterres on Friday spoke by telephone with Somalian President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed — his second call to the Somalian leader in three days — to once again urge him to change his mind, diplomats said. However, the president dug in his heels and said envoy Nicholas Haysom would remain persona non grata and would not be allowed to return to Somalia, they said.
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
PLAYING THE VICTIM? A Chinese spokesman sent a statement to Australian media saying that Beijing had ‘irrefutable’ evidence of Canberra’s widescale espionage Australia yesterday unveiled the “largest-ever” boost in cybersecurity spending, days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke out about a wave of state-sponsored attacks suspected to have been carried out by China. Morrison and government officials said the country would spend an additional A$1.35 billion (US$928 million) on cybersecurity, about a 10 percent hike, taking the budget for the next decade to A$15 billion. The largest chunk of the new money would help create 500 jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate, the government’s communications intelligence agency. Morrison on June 19 said that a “state-based actor” was targeting a host of
The Philippine army chief yesterday expressed outrage over the fatal police shooting of four soldiers, including two officers, and demanded justice, as both sides provided contrasting accounts of the killings. Philippine Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Ano, a retired military chief of staff who now oversees the national police, ordered that the police involved in Monday’s violence in Jolo in Sulu Province be disarmed and restricted for investigation. Police said the soldiers were killed in a “misencounter” with a group of police officers. The army said that the two officers and two enlisted men were on a mission against