Minister calls for sanctions
Minister of Foreign Affairs Anders Samuelsen yesterday called for EU-wide sanctions on Russia over a stand-off with Ukraine in the Azov Sea. Samuelsen was to meet Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin yesterday and today, and visit the city of Mariupol by the Azov Sea, the ministry said in a statement. “I believe the EU needs to react to Russia’s aggressive behavior,” Samuelsen said in the statement. The EU would issue a demarche — a formal diplomatic protest note — to Moscow as early as this week over Russia’s continued detention of 24 Ukrainian sailors captured during an incident in November last year, diplomats told reporters last week.
Friendly bear saves boy
A three-year-old boy who survived two nights alone in the woods in freezing conditions has told police and family he was helped out by a friendly bear that was with him the whole time. Rescuers responding to reports of a child crying late on Thursday last week found Casey Hathaway tangled up in thorny bushes, cold and soaked, but safe. He had gone missing on Tuesday in conditions so bad the subsequent search had to be called off. Help — perhaps real, perhaps imaginary, but certainly useful — was in those woods in North Carolina, a state that is home to plenty of black bears. Casey “did say that he had a friend in the woods that was a bear that was with him,” Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said.
Woman trapped in elevator
An employee of a New York billionaire’s family spent the weekend stuck in the elevator of the family’s Manhattan townhouse before she was rescued on Monday, officials said. The homeowners spent the weekend away and discovered that the woman was trapped when they arrived back home, the New York Times reported. Firefighters who rescued the woman stuck between the second and third floors learned from people at the scene that she had been stuck in the elevator since Friday, a New York City Fire Department spokesman said by telephone. The woman was in good condition when paramedics took her to the hospital, he said.
Two killed in gunbattle
The Houston police chief said what began as an attempt to serve a search warrant at a suspected drug house turned into a gunbattle that killed two suspects and injured five officers, including four who were shot. The suspects were killed on Monday after firing at officers who were trying to enter a southeast Houston home where authorities suspected black tar heroin was being sold, police chief Art Acevedo said. Four of the officers were shot and a fifth suffered a knee injury. Police did not immediately release additional information about the suspects.
US refugee offer rejected
The country will not accept migrants younger than 18 while they await the resolution of their US asylum claims, National Immigration Institute Commissioner Tonatiuh Guillen said on Monday. Officials had previously said that the US expressed interest in extending the “remain in Mexico” policy to other border crossings. However, the country will accept only asylum seekers aged 18 to 60, Guillen said. US authorities plan to bus asylum seekers back and forth to the border for court hearings in downtown San Diego, including an initial appearance within 45 days.
Shark-proof suit tested
A university is testing new materials designed to lessen the impact of shark bites, researchers said yesterday, in a project aimed at reducing fatalities and easing the nerves of swimmers. Researchers at Flinders University in Adelaide have received government funding to test a new neoprene, a synthetic rubber commonly used in wetsuits, against the force of a bite from several species, including the great white shark. “When a shark bite occurs, it can have severe physical, mental, social and economic consequences. It is therefore important to keep developing new means of reducing shark bite risks and ensure the efficacy of such new products,” professor Charlie Huveneers said.
Suicide bomber hits al-Qaeda
Opposition activists said a woman blew herself up in Idlib yesterday, killing two people, outside an administration office linked to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an al-Qaeda group. The blast wounded others, the Local Coordination Committees said. The attack comes weeks after the al-Qaeda-linked group captured wide parts of northern Syria in battles with Turkey-backed opposition fighters. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, another group monitoring the civil war, said the bomber exchanged fire with guards before blowing herself up.
EU team visits Xinjiang
An EU delegation has visited the western region of Xinjiang, a rare chance to gather evidence on controversial re-education camps that have drawn harsh criticism from rights groups and Western powers, officials said on Monday. The team was supervised by officials this month during the three-day trip, but managed to gather information that the EU said builds on “compelling and mutually consistent” reports of rights abuses in the region. This was the first visit to Xinjiang by a multinational body such as the EU since Beijing acknowledged the existence of the camps.
Car-attack killer executed
Authorities yesterday executed a man who killed 15 people after ramming a car into a crowded square in Hunan Province’s Hengdong last year. Yang Zanyun (陽讚雲) in September last year ploughed a Land Rover into pedestrians at a public square before slashing at people with a shovel and dagger. Fifteen people were killed and 43 others were injured. The Hengyang Intermediate People’s Court yesterday said it “carried out the death penalty” on Yang for “endangering public security through dangerous methods.”
Missile range not to increase
Iran has no intention to increase the range of its missiles, but will continue working on its satellite technology to improve accuracy, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani said yesterday. “Iran has no scientific or operational restriction for increasing the range of its military missiles, but based on its defensive doctrine, it is continuously working on increasing the precision of the missiles, and has no intention to increase their range,” Shamkhani was quoted as saying by the official Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. “The enemies say Iran’s missile power should be eliminated, but we have repeatedly said our missile capabilities are not negotiable,” Minister of Defense Amir Hatami was quoted as saying by the Tasnim news agency.
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