Russia to lease third sub
New Delhi has signed a US$3 billion deal to lease a third Russian nuclear-powered submarine for 10 years, giving the nation a boost in the Indian Ocean, media reported yesterday. The deal — which reportedly took months to negotiate — comes as tensions run high between India and Pakistan, and as Chinese influence grows in the region. A Ministry of Defence spokesman declined to confirm the agreement, but the reports said that the submarine would be delivered by 2025.
Flooding kills at least two
At least two people were killed and six more were missing after torrential rains and severe flooding, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people, the National Board for Disaster Management said yesterday. Heavy rain has pounded the nation for days, causing the Citarum River — dubbed “the world’s dirtiest” by the World Bank — on Java to burst its banks and deadly flash floods in the east. Floods and landslides killed a pair of residents in East Nusa Tenggara Province, the agency said. Six others are still missing and three people were injured, it added. The floods have affected more than 30,000 people in parts of West Java and East Java provinces, it said.
PM resigns over reforms
Prime Minister Juha Sipila yesterday tendered his government’s resignation after it failed to push through a social and healthcare reform package, the president’s office said. The announcement was made just five weeks ahead of legislative elections scheduled for April 14. Sipila has since 2015 headed a coalition made up of his Center Party, the conservative National Coalition and Blue Reform, a moderate faction spun off from the far right. Sipila has made health and social reform one of his top priorities, seeing a shake-up as necessary to cut the ballooning costs of treating an aging population. The reform has been a struggle over a decade and has divided successive governments.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) yesterday issued a stern warning against interfering in or imposing sanctions on Venezuela, saying history offers a clear lesson about not “following the same old disastrous road.” Responding to a question on whether China still recognized Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro or had had contact with the opposition, Wang said the sovereignty and independence of Latin American nations should be respected. “The internal affairs of every country should be decided by their own people. External interference and sanctions will only exacerbate the tension situation, and allow the law of the jungle to once again run amok,” Wang told his annual news conference.
China agreement mulled
The government appears undecided over whether to sign an agreement with China endorsing its Belt and Road Initiative, amid pressure from the US to stand down. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Guglielmo Picchi said that further reflection is needed before signing the proposed agreement. “As of today, I don’t think we should proceed with the signing,” he tweeted on Wednesday. Undersecretary of State Michele Geraci told the foreign media that while the negotiations are not over, the deal could be signed when Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) visits Italy later this month. On Wednesday, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang (陸慷) criticized comments by the White House. A spokesman told the Financial Times that the US believes the initiative benefits China, not Italy. “The US statement is very absurd,” Lu said. “As a large economy and a big country, Italy is very clear about its own interests and can independently make its own policies and judgements.”
Migrants killed in crash
A truck packed with Central American migrants on Thursday swerved off a highway in the south, leaving at least 25 dead and 32 injured, officials said. The accident happened in Chiapas State, which borders Guatemala, the state attorney general’s office said in a statement. The 3 tonne truck ran off the road and overturned, it added. The truck involved in this accident was carrying an estimated 80 people, Isidro Hernandez of the local Red Cross said. Some who were not injured might have fled. The fatalities include at least one minor, Hernandez added.
Secret list tracked advocates
Authorities created a secret database of journalists and campaigners linked to a caravan of Central Americans who tried to enter the US last year from Mexico, NBC reported. In some cases, authorities flagged their passports for alerts, the San Diego, California, affiliate of NBC said. It cited documents leaked to it by a source in the Department of Homeland Security. It said the documents list people to be screened at the US-Mexico border. They included 10 journalists, seven of them US citizens, a US lawyer and 47 people who were labeled as organizers, instigators or with “unknown” roles.
Expedition looks for tribe
A government agency has sent off a rare and high-risk expedition hoping to contact a small, isolated group in the Amazon and reunite its members with some of their relatives, saying that the move is necessary to avoid bloodshed in an area near the border with Peru. A team of nearly two dozen sponsored by the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) headed up the Coari River over the weekend looking for the group of at least 22 people, who are members of the widespread Korubo indigenous community in Amazonas State. The army, police and Ministry of Health are backing the initiative, which could take weeks. Brazilian law says that contact with isolated tribes can be used only as a last resort to preserve their lives. Bruno Pereira, FUNAI’s coordinator for isolated indigenous peoples, said that the objective is to ease tensions between a group of Korubos and a group of indigenous Matis who live about 20km away. The Matis contacted the Korubos in 2013, initially in a friendly manner, but the next year there was a deadly clash between the groups, FUNAI said. The Matis have repeatedly requested an intervention because they believe the Korubos will want revenge soon, Pereira said.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year