The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to prolong by six months the UN investigation of the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, and it cited Syria for not providing the inquiry "full and unconditional cooperation."
The measure also authorized the inquiry to give technical assistance to Lebanese officials investigating 14 assassinations, attempted murders and bombings since Oct. 1 last year, including the car-bomb killing on Monday of Gebran Tueni, a prominent journalist and member of parliament known for his anti-Syrian views.
Negotiated up until moments before the vote to meet objections raised by Algeria, China and Russia, the final draft dropped language accusing Syria of deliberately hindering the investigation and of delaying examination of the role of high-ranking officials.
But it demanded that Syria respond "unambiguously and immediately" to requests from the investigators, and it kept a reference to Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which empowers the Council to consider penalties in the future.
A resolution passed on Oct. 31 had threatened Syria with unspecified "further action" if it continued to obstruct the investigation.
US ambassador John Bolton said that the sponsors of the measure had agreed to modifications in the interests of obtaining unanimity, and that none of the changes crossed the sponsors' "red lines." The resolution was initiated by France and co-sponsored by the UK and US.
Offering Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccines to the public in Singapore for the first time since Friday, several private clinics reported overwhelming demand for the Chinese-made shot, despite already available rival vaccines having far higher efficacy. Singapore has vaccinated almost half its 5.7 million population with at least one dose of the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Both have shown efficacy rates of well over 90 percent against symptomatic disease in clinical trials, compared with Sinovac’s 51 percent. Earlier this week, officials in Indonesia said that more than 350 medical workers have caught COVID-19, despite being vaccinated with Sinovac and dozens have been
‘WITHIN SAFE LIMITS’: Hong Kong is to ask authorities in Guangdong for updates regarding the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant and inform the public of developments The Hong Kong government is closely watching a nearby Chinese nuclear power plant following a news report that it might be leaking, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) said yesterday. The plant’s operators have released few details, but nuclear experts have said that based on their brief public statement, the facility might be suffering a leak of gas from fuel rods inside a reactor. Government data showed that radiation levels in Hong Kong were normal on Monday night, Lam said. Data from the Hong Kong Observatory showed radiation levels were still normal yesterday. A French company that helps manage the Taishan Nuclear
When COVID-19 arrived in India, few places looked as vulnerable as Mumbai. However, a year on, South Asia’s most crowded city has surprised many by tackling a vicious second wave of the virus with considerable success. Gaurav Awasthi even traveled hundreds of kilometers from his home on the outskirts of Delhi to get his ailing wife a hospital bed there, paying an ambulance more than US$1,000 to drive 24 hours straight. “I cannot ever repay my debt to this city,” the 29-year-old said, recounting an ordeal that saw him spend five days fruitlessly searching for a bed across several cities, including Delhi.
In India’s capital, New Delhi, thousands of commuters yesterday crowded into underground train stations and shopping malls, prompting some doctors to say that it could lead to a resurgence in COVID-19 infections. Major Indian cities have begun lifting strict lockdowns as the nationwide tally of new infections has dropped to its lowest level in more than two months. However, disease experts and doctors have cautioned that a race toward resuming business as usual would compromise vaccination efforts, as only about 5 percent of all 950 million eligible adults have been inoculated. Doctors have said New Delhi’s near-complete reopening is concerning. The city’s authorities