Pride to be preserved
The nation would not let its “pride be hurt” in its latest border flare-ups with China, but is determined to settle the dispute through talks, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh said in a television interview late on Saturday. “Situations arise with China. It has happened before,” Singh said, adding that the government was striving to make sure “tension does not escalate.” The government has turned down US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate, he said.
Speaker says talks futile
Newly elected Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf yesterday said that any negotiations with the US would be “futile.” The nation’s new parliament “considers negotiations with and appeasement of America, as the axis of global arrogance, to be futile and harmful,” he said in a televised address in which he also vowed to avenge the death of a top Iranian general in a US drone attack in January. The former commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ air force was elected speaker on Thursday.
Amazon removes images
An Amazon.com spokeswoman yesterday said the firm was removing certain images after messages using extremely strong racist abuse appeared on some listings on its local Web site when users searched for Apple’s AirPods and similar products. The message sparked outrage on Twitter. “We are removing the images in question and have taken action on the bad actor,” the spokeswoman said, without elaborating on the “bad actor.”
Minister held in trash probe
Deputy Minister of the Environment and Water Krassimir Zhivkov has been arrested and charged for his alleged role in illegally importing harmful waste from Italy and burning it, prosecutors said on Saturday. Zhivkov “pressured his subordinates to authorize the illegal trafficking of waste,” they said, adding that they had asked for him to be held in custody. Authorities in the two nations have been investigating two Bulgarian brothers who own a recycling business and deal with dangerous waste. During a raid on the men’s home in the town of Rousse on Friday, the police found a list of names of media bosses and entrepreneurs who were assassinated in the 1990s, along with sums running into millions of dollars entered against some of the names.
‘Forbes’ and Jenner spar
Forbes, which in March last year declared Kylie Jenner a billionaire, says she no longer deserves the title, but Jenner is pushing back. The magazine on Friday said that an examination of financial filings after Jenner sold a majority share in her cosmetics firm to Coty in a deal valued at US$1.2 billion showed that her worth was inflated. “Kylie’s business is significantly smaller, and less profitable, than the family has spent years leading the cosmetics industry and media outlets, including Forbes, to believe,” it said. It was “likely” that the “business was never that big to begin with, and the Jenners have lied about it every year since 2016 — including having their accountant draft tax returns with false numbers — to help juice Forbes’ estimates of Kylie’s earnings and net worth,” the magazine said. Jenner responded in a series of tweets, saying “i thought this was a reputable site.. all i see are a number of inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions lol. i’ve never asked for any title or tried to lie my way there EVER. period.”
Entry permits considered
Tokyo is considering easing entry restrictions on people from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand because of signs that novel coronavirus infections are declining in those countries, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday, citing government officials. The government might relax the limits from as early as summer, the newspaper said. The visitors would be required to carry documentation showing that they had tested negative for the virus before leaving their countries, and would need to be retested when they arrive in Japan, it said.
Two new cases confirmed
The government yesterday announced two new confirmed cases of coronavirus and four new asymptomatic cases, including one person without symptoms of COVID-19 on a chartered flight from Germany. The two confirmed cases in Shandong Province on Saturday compared with four cases the day before, National Health Commission data showed. The agency confirmed three new asymptomatic cases on Saturday. Tianjin yesterday confirmed one asymptomatic passenger arriving from Frankfurt on Lufthansa Flight LH342. The flight carried about 200 passengers, mostly German business executives. The number of confirmed cases in the country as of Saturday stood at 83,001, agency data showed.
Hotels reopen amid rules
Hotels operating with a new reduced occupancy rate of 25 percent to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus have almost reached full capacity, a tourism ministry official told reporters yesterday. Although airports remain closed to all but domestic and repatriation flights, hotels were allowed to reopen at one-quarter of their usual capacity if they met strict health and safety protocols. About 78 hotels, mostly along the Red Sea coast, met the rules and are operating with an occupancy rate of 20 to 22 percent, said a government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
President sings against virus
President George Weah, a former international soccer legend, has released a song to be used by the UN to spread awareness about the novel coronavirus, his office said on Saturday. Weah hopes to appeal to music lovers across the West African nation of about 4.5 million people to ensure COVID-19 does not spread further. It is not the first time Weah has used his singing skills. During the 2014 Ebola crisis, when he was a senator, he released an awareness song.
Pope urges fairer society
“Everything will be different” after the COVID-19 pandemic, Pope Francis said on Saturday, calling for a fairer society and action to “end the pandemic of poverty in the world.” Speaking in Spanish in a video message to mark the feast of Pentecost, the pontiff said there was a duty to build a new reality, particularly for the poorest. “Once we emerge from this pandemic, we will not be able to keep doing what we were doing, and as we were doing it. No, everything will be different,” he said. “From the great trials of humanity — among them this pandemic — one emerges better or worse. You don’t emerge the same. I ask this of you: How do you want to come out of it? Better or worse?” the 83-year-old Argentinian said. The pope led a prayer in the Vatican gardens for all those affected by the pandemic.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
‘CHAPITOS’: An ex-DEA agent said the sons of the former cartel head are engaged in a battle for control, with the health of the man temporarily in charge a factor The fight for control of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s legacy spilled into the open on Thursday after a gun battle between rival Mexican gangs left 16 dead, authorities said. The 16 men, heavily armed and wearing bulletproof vests, died in a six-hour running shootout near the rural town of Tepuche in northwestern Sinaloa province. “A van with seven bodies was located” after an initial clash, while nine bodies were discovered following a second exchange, Sinaloa Minister of Security Cristobal Castaneda told reporters. Castaneda said that Wednesday’s clash near Tepuche, 25km from the capital of Sinaloa, Culiacan, was “part of a struggle