Typoon forces evacuations
Thousands of people were yesterday evacuated from their homes in storm-battered parts of the nation as the third typhoon in as many weeks barreled toward the country. Typhoon Vamco was expected to graze Catanduanes Island before making landfall on Luzon later yesterday or early today. Destructive winds and torrential rain are expected in parts of central and southern Luzon, the state weather forecaster said. About 50,000 people living in the typhoon’s path would be ordered to leave their homes, said Gremil Alexis Naz, spokesman for the Office of Civil Defense in the Bicol region.
Opposition disputes vote
A military-backed opposition party yesterday said that it would not recognize the results of Sunday’s general election and urged authorities to hold another vote. The Union Solidarity and Development Party told a news conference the vote was conducted unfairly and the party had asked the election commission for a re-run. The ruling National League for Democracy, led by Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, has established a clear lead in early results and the party has claimed victory overall, citing its own unofficial tally.
Spy boss suggests summit
National Intelligence Service Director Park Jie-won has proposed a summit of the leaders of the US, Japan and the two Koreas during the Tokyo Olympics next year, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported yesterday. Park made the proposal in Japan, where he arrived on Sunday for his first trip as head of the NIS aimed at improving relations strained by a feud over compensation for Koreans forced to work for Japanese firms during its colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula. Park suggested the summit during a meeting on Tuesday with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, saying that it could take up the issues of North Korea’s denuclearisation and the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korean agents, the newspaper said.
Poppies light up opera house
Poppies yesterday illuminated the sails of the Sydney Opera House at dawn as the nation marked the 102nd anniversary of Remembrance Day. As the sun rose, a lone bugler played the Last Post to mark the end of World War I and to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the line of duty. The guns fell silent at 11am on Nov. 11, 1918, after more than four years of war. Services were also held nationwide. Prime Minister Scott Morrison laid a wreath at a Remembrance Day service in Canberra.
‘Trump’ visible in Biden note
The government on Tuesday blamed a “technical error” for an embarrassing gaffe in which US President Donald Trump’s faded-out name appeared in a congratulatory online statement to US president-elect Joe Biden. Sharp-eyed Twitter users spotted the words “Trump,” “the future” and “second term” faintly hidden in the graphic posted on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official account to mark Biden’s election triumph. “As you’d expect, two statements were prepared in advance for the outcome of this closely contested election,” a Downing Street spokesman said. “A technical error meant that parts of the alternative message were embedded in the background of the graphic.”
Gay adoption ban pursued
The government has drafted legislation that would practically ban adoption by same-sex couples in what rights groups have said is an attack on the LGBTQ community when COVID-19 means that they cannot protest. The bill was submitted late on Tuesday to parliament to shore up support for the government, just before tough COVID-19 restrictions took effect yesterday. “The timing is no coincidence: The proposals that severely limit legal rights and go against basic international and European human rights ... were submitted at a time when ... protests are not allowed,” the Hatter rights group said.
Ex-Vatican envoy on trial
Pope Francis’s former envoy to the nation on Tuesday went on trial in Paris for sexual assault following accusations that he groped five men during public ceremonies. Luigi Ventura, a 75-year-old Italian archbishop, was not in court for the proceedings, where the prosecution sought a 10-month suspended jail sentence. Ventura’s lawyer, Solange Doumic, said that his client’s doctor had advised him against traveling due to the health risks posed by COVID-19. The allegations against Ventura caused deep embarrassment for the Vatican when they surfaced in February last year. He was stripped of his diplomatic immunity in July last year so that he could be put on trial — a first for a Vatican envoy.
‘No proof’ against Thai king
The government has found no evidence that Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn has done anything illegal while living there, the Deutsche Presse-Agentur said, citing a Federal Foreign Office statement. Vajiralongkorn has spent most of his time over the past several years in the nation. Thousands of Thai protesters last month submitted a letter to the nation’s embassy in Bangkok, asking authorities to probe whether he has exercised royal authority during his time there, a breach of local law. “The German government has no reliable evidence that the Thai king has taken any such decisions during his stay,” the ministry said.
Nude of feminist decried
A monument to feminist Mary Wollstonecraft was unveiled in London on Tuesday, prompting criticism from some who slammed the nude design. Wollstonecraft was an early feminist thinker whose 1792 book A Vindication of the Rights of Woman called for women to have equal rights. Artist Maggi Hambling created the sculpture of a small female nude figure. Some questioned whether a nude figure would have been used for a monument to a man. Hambling told the Evening Standard that she did not want to depict the writer in period clothing, as “she’s everywoman and clothes would have restricted her.”
‘SPIKES’: Rudy Giuliani at a hearing asked about voting data in Pennsylvania, with a witness saying that 570,000 votes they selected were for Biden and 3,200 for Trump US president-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday said that Americans “won’t stand” for attempts to derail the US election outcome, as US President Donald Trump called for results to be overturned. Biden said in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, that Americans “have full and fair and free elections, and then we honor the results.” “The people of this nation and the laws of the land won’t stand for anything else,” he said. However, Trump is challenging the results, with lawsuits under way in several states. “We have to turn the election over,” he told a hearing in Pennsylvania. “This election was rigged.” “All we need is
Hundreds of flights at one of China’s busiest airports were canceled yesterday as Shanghai raced to bring a local COVID-19 outbreak under control. Health officials have tested thousands of staff at Pudong International Airport since a small cluster of COVID-19 cases in the city was linked to several cargo handlers. China — where the virus first emerged late last year — has largely brought the COVID-19 pandemic under control through travel restrictions and lockdowns, but it is now battling a number of domestic outbreaks in different cities. Shanghai has reported seven local infections linked to the airport this month, with most cases found
‘OCEAN OF STORMS’: The Chang’e 5 seeks to collect about 5kg of samples from a previously unvisited area in a massive lava plain, known as Oceanus Procellarum China plans to launch an uncrewed spacecraft to the moon this week to bring back lunar rocks in the first attempt by any nation to retrieve samples from Earth’s natural satellite since the 1970s. The Chang’e 5 probe, named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon, would seek to collect material that could help scientists understand the moon’s origins and formation. The mission would test China’s ability to remotely acquire samples from space, ahead of more complex missions. If successful, the mission will make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples, following the US and the Soviet Union decades
Sudan on Saturday boycotted talks between Nile Valley countries over Ethiopia’s controversial mega-dam, calling on the African Union to play a greater role in pushing forward negotiations that have stalled for years. It was the first time that Sudan refused to attend talks with Ethiopia and its northern neighbor Egypt, which has expressed for years its fears that the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile will dramatically threaten water supplies downstream. Sudanese Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Yasser Abbas said in a statement that the current approach to reaching a tripartite agreement on the filling and operation of Ethiopia’s dam