Heatwaves kill 1,500 people
Two heatwaves that hit the nation this summer claimed more than 1,500 more lives, Minister of Solidarity and Health Agnes Buzyn said on Sunday. However, that toll was significantly lower than the disastrous summer of 2003, when an estimated 15,000 people died during an August heatwave, she said in a radio interview. This year’s heatwaves hit in June and July, with a new high temperature of 46°C recorded in the south on June 28. While the 2003 heatwave lasted 20 days in all, this year’s lasted for 18, in two separate heatwaves, the second covering a large part of the nation, Buzyn added.
Kiir, Machar to meet
Former rebel leader Riek Machar was yesterday due to make a rare visit to the capital, Juba, and meet President Salva Kiir, officials said, raising hopes for progress in a stalled peace process. The two men signed a pact a year ago to end a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and wrecked the economy, but the rollout of the accord, which called for a unity government, has been delayed because the government says it does not have enough money to fund disarmament and the integration of all the armed factions. “The meeting aims at discussing the outstanding issues related to the implementation of the R-ARCSS [peace deal] with President Kiir and other head of the parties to the agreement,” said Puok Both Baluang, Machar’s director for information.
Bolsonaro under knife again
President Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday underwent surgery to repair an abdominal hernia, his fourth operation since being stabbed in the stomach a year ago at a campaign rally, his doctors said. The operation at Sao Paulo’s Vila Nova Star hospital lasted more than five hours, the medical center reported in a statement signed by his surgeon, Antonio Luiz Macedo. “The procedure was a success,” it said, adding that the president was recovering and in stable condition. Macedo said a significant part of Bolsonaro’s intestine had to be removed after it had become strongly attached to the abdominal wall.
LGBT publication ban illegal
The Supreme Court on Sunday made it illegal to ban any LGBT publication, after a lower court allowed a mayor to confiscate comic books at the Rio Book Fair containing content he considered “inappropriate” for minors. Mayor Marcelo Crivella, a Protestant and former bishop in the giant Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, on Saturday ordered the comic book removed from sale because of its “sexual content for minors.” The comic that sparked the mayor’s ire showed the Marvel superhero characters Wiccan and Hulkling exchanging a kiss, fully dressed. However, the top court agreed with prosecutor Dias Toffoli and ruled that Crivella’s actions were illegal, because they targeted only LGBT content, violating the constitutional guarantee of equality for all.
Festival blast injures 14
Authorities yesterday said that 14 people were injured, including five with life-threatening burns, during an explosion at a village festival in Freudenberg on Sunday. Police are still investigating the cause of the explosion, but said it was likely that oil inside a big frying pan caused the explosion at the Backesfest, which was attended by about 100 people. The Backesfest celebrates the annual start of operations of a traditional bakery in the village.
Suicide bomber dies
A suicide bomber dressed in an abaya died after detonating a bomb outside a military camp on Jolo island, but no other casualties were reported, authorities said. The attacker on Sunday was “foreign looking and appeared to be a woman, the military said. No group has yet claimed the attack.
Justice minister takes office
Law professor Cho Kuk took office as minister of justice yesterday, despite a probe by state prosecutors into alleged misconduct by his wife, Chung Kyung-sim. Cho was appointed by President Moon Jae-in with a mandate to reform the prosecutor’s office, even though officials from the office have carried out multiple raids over the past two weeks linked to the scandals involving his family. Moon yesterday said he had “agonized” over the decision, but decided to stick with Cho because it would leave a “bad precedent” if he had dropped the nomination when it was not confirmed that Cho had broken laws himself.
Cloud seeding to start
The government is prepared to seed clouds after air quality in parts of Sarawak reached unhealthy levels due to smog from forest fires in Indonesia, Gary Theseira, special functions officer with the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change, said yesterday. The pollutant index in some places has reached “very unhealthy levels,” he said. “It is extremely severe in Kuching.” Boo Siang Voon, a 47 year-old engineer in Kuching, described the skies as “hazy, hot with smoky smell,” adding: “This year the smog is getting worse. Residents are using face masks. We should not pay the price of our health for the open burning. We want a solution.”
Eight Web sites blocked
The government has ordered Internet service providers to block access to eight Web sites still showing footage of attacks on two mosques in New Zealand on March 15 that killed 51 people, eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said on Sunday. “We cannot allow this heinous material to be used to promote, incite or instruct in further terrorist acts,” Grant said. It is an offence for companies not to remove any videos or photographs that show murder, torture or rape without delay.
Opposition party cuts jobs
The main opposition Democratic Alliance is cutting jobs after it shed support in May elections and lost state and donor funding. “The reality of the situation with regard staff retrenchments and the absence of bonuses this year is that the organization is in a difficult financial position due to this year’s electoral results where we didn’t achieve the objectives and support we needed,” party spokesman Solly Malatsi said yesterday. “We have lost seats in several legislatures as well as the National Assembly, which had an impact on what the party gets in terms for the funding allocated to parties.”
Elephants injure 18 people
An elephant taking part in a Buddhist pageant went berserk on Saturday and at least 18 people were injured. Television footage of a pageant in Kotte showed one elephant in a procession running forward, forcing people to scatter, some of whom ran into an elephant walking at the front. That elephant began running, pushing onlookers out of the way, while the man riding on it narrowly escaped being trampled when he fell off.
‘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
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
A squad of gun-toting police officers patrolled Myanmar’s sacred site of Bagan under the cover of night, taking on plunderers snatching relics from temples forsaken by tourists due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each evening as dusk falls, about 100 officers fan out across the plain of Bagan covering 50km2, sweeping flashlights over the crumbling monuments to scour for intruders. “Our security forces are patrolling day and night,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Sein Win told reporters. “We have it under control for the moment, but it’s a challenge.” The central Burmese city is strewn with more than 3,500 ancient monuments — stupas, temples, murals and sculptures