Troops to move to Poland
President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that Washington plans to move some troops from Germany to Poland, speaking as he hosted Polish President Andrzej Duda at the White House. “We are going to be reducing our forces in Germany” from 52,000 to 25,000 troops, Trump said after an Oval Office meeting with Duda. “Some will be coming home and some will be going to other places. Poland would be one of those other places.” Duda called it a “very reasonable decision” and said he had asked Trump not to withdraw US troops from Europe “because the security of Europe is very important to me.” Asked what kind of a message the redeployment sends to Russia, Trump said: “I think it sends a very strong signal.”
Gems fetch US$3.3m
A hand-miner became an instant millionaire after selling the two of the largest tanzanite gems ever discovered to the government. The central bank paid Saniniu Laizer 7.7 billion shillings (US$3.3 million) for the stones, which weighed 9.2kg and 5.8kg. Laizer, clad in the traditional red and white checkered robes of the Maasai community, received the payment at a ceremony in the northeastern Manyara region and broadcast on national television on Wednesday. President John Magufuli said that the purchase from Laizer was vindication of reforms to the mining industry that the government has implemented since he came to power in 2015. The changes include the introduction of centers where small-scale miners can trade their finds.
Groups worry for democracy
More than 500 political and civil society leaders, Nobel laureates and rights groups, yesterday warned that some governments were using the COVID-19 pandemic to “tighten their grip on power,” undermining democracy and civil liberties. In an open letter signed by former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, Nobel Peace Prize laureates Shirin Ebadi, Lech Walesa and Jose Ramos-Horta, and actor Richard Gere, among others, the authors called the ongoing pandemic a “formidable global challenge to democracy.” They wrote: “Democracy is under threat, and people who care about it must summon the will, the discipline, and the solidarity to defend it.”
Fishing boat boarded
Pirates allegedly kidnapped five citizens and a Ghanaian after boarding their fishing vessel off the coast of Benin, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Maritime Bureau said yesterday. The Ghanaian-flagged Panofi Frontier with 30 crew onboard was attacked on Wednesday about 60 nautical miles (111km) south of Benin’s capital, Cotonou, they said.
Authorities have formally arrested two detained activists, relatives and fellow campaigners said yesterday. Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜) and Xu Zhiyong (許志永) attended a meeting involving lawyers and human rights advocates in December last year, many of whose attendees have since been detained. Ding, a disbarred Beijing-based lawyer previously jailed for protesting against official corruption, is accused of “inciting subversion of state power,” said his wife, Luo Shengchun (羅勝春). “My greatest hope now is that Jiaxi can meet his lawyer and to see that he is well.”
When Melinda Gates asked her husband, Microsoft Corp cofounder Bill Gates, to let her coauthor the 2013 annual letter about their foundation, the conversation blew up into a fight. “It got hot,” Melinda Gates wrote in her 2019 book The Moment of Lift. “Bill said the process we had for the Annual Letter had been working well for the foundation for years, and he didn’t see why it should change,” she wrote. Ultimately, Bill Gates agreed for her to write a separate piece about contraceptives, while he penned the main letter about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work. In the next year’s letter,
Part of a huge rocket that launched China’s first module for its Tianhe space station is falling back to Earth and could make an uncontrolled re-entry at an unknown landing point. The 30m-high core of the Long March 5B rocket on Thursday launched the “Heavenly Harmony” uncrewed core module into low Earth orbit from Wenchang in China’s Hainan Province. The Long March 5B then itself entered a temporary orbit, setting the stage for one of the largest-ever uncontrolled re-entries. Some experts fear it could land on an inhabited area. “It’s potentially not good,” said Jonathan McDowell, astrophysicist at the Astrophysics Center at Harvard
Remnants of China’s largest rocket launched last week were expected to plunge back through the atmosphere late yesterday or early today, a US federally funded space-focused research and development center said. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday that most debris from the rocket would be burned up on re-entry and is highly unlikely to cause any harm, after the US military said that what it called an uncontrolled re-entry was being tracked by US Space Command. In a Twitter post sent on Friday evening in the US, the Aerospace Corporation said that the latest prediction for the re-entry of
SPIKE LOOMING: Many scientists believe a lack of testing is resulting in a sharp undercounting of cases, with one model forecasting 1,018,879 deaths by the end of July The COVID-19 wave that plunged India into the world’s biggest health crisis has the potential to worsen in coming weeks, with some research models projecting that the death toll could more than double from present levels. A team at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru used a mathematical model to predict that about 404,000 deaths would occur by June 11 if current trends continue. A model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington forecast 1,018,879 deaths by the end of July. While COVID-19 cases can be hard to predict, particularly in a sprawling nation like