Thu, Sep 05, 2019 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

AUSTRIA

Vienna retains top ranking

Vienna has retained its ranking as the world’s most livable city, according to an annual report released yesterday by the Economist. Vienna once again came ahead of Melbourne — which had held the top ranking for seven years until losing it to Vienna last year — an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report said. The top two were followed by Sydney; Osaka, Japan; and Calgary, Alberta. Each year, the EIU gives 140 cities scores out of 100 on a range of factors such as living standards, crime, transport infrastructure, access to education and healthcare, as well as political and economic stability. Vienna scored 99.1 points out of 100, as it did last year. For the first time, the index noted the effects of climate change on livability, with New Delhi and Cairo plunging in the rankings to 118th and 125th place respectively due to poor air quality, undesirable average temperatures and inadequate water provision.

UNITED STATES

Panel rejects district maps

A North Carolina judicial panel on Tuesday rejected state legislative district maps, saying that legislators took extreme advantage in drawing voting districts to help elect a maximum number of Republican lawmakers. The judges gave lawmakers two weeks to try again. The three-judge panel of state trial judges unanimously ruled that courts can step in to decide when partisan advantage goes so far it diminishes democracy. Their ruling came after the Supreme Court in June ruled in a separate case involving North Carolina’s congressional map that it was not the job of federal courts to decide if boundaries are politically unfair — although state courts could consider whether gerrymandering stands up under state laws and constitutions.

UNITED STATES

Judge orders opioid trial

A judge on Tuesday rejected efforts by major drugmakers, pharmacies and distributors to dismiss claims that they caused the nation’s opioid crisis, clearing the way for a scheduled landmark trial even as he pushes for a nationwide settlement. District Judge Dan Polster, who oversees about 2,000 opioid lawsuits by states, counties and cities, said that the plaintiffs could try to prove that drugmakers’ deceptive marketing of the painkillers caused a harmful, massive increase in supply that pharmacies and distributors did not do enough to stop. The ruling was among seven decisions and orders totaling 80 pages from Polster ahead of a scheduled Oct. 21 trial by two Ohio counties against Purdue Pharma, the OxyContin maker accused of fueling the epidemic, and several other defendants.

VENEZUELA

Maduro orders border drills

President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday ordered the military to hold exercises along the border with Colombia, accusing Colombian President Ivan Duque of plotting an attack as tensions mounted between the two countries. It was the latest salvo between Maduro and Duque, who have accused each other in the past few days of harboring militants. “Columbia’s government doesn’t want peace,” Maduro told a class of officers in a nationally televised military ceremony. “It wants war. It wants violence.” Tensions flared last week when the former chief negotiator for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia announced in a video that he would take up arms, saying that the Colombian government has failed to uphold a 2016 peace accord. Maduro ordered Venezuela’s armed forces to be on alert and called for more than two weeks of maneuvers to start on Tuesday next week.

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