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.
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for
SPACE RACE: The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp mission aims to land a robotic rover and put a probe into orbit around the planet China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious Mars mission, which includes landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the Red Planet, the company in charge of the project has said. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space program in an effort to catch up with its rival, the US, and affirm its status as a major world power. The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022. Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for some time this year,
Former US vice president Joe Biden on Friday said he “should not have been so cavalier” after he told a radio host that African Americans who back US President Donald Trump “ain’t black.” In a call with the US Black Chamber of Commerce that was added to his public schedule, Biden said he would never “take the African American community for granted.” “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Biden said. “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race or religion or background.” Biden faced criticism after his comments earlier on Friday on The Breakfast Club, a