World

West Papua independence movement re-submits for full MSG membership

An application by the United Liberation Movement of West Papua to become a full member of Melanesian Spearhead Group has been re-activated. Last year, the ULMWP announced itself as a provisional government in exile for...

Ocean flooding hits Marshall Islands, Micronesia over consecutive days

Ocean flooding for the third straight day hit low-lying islands throughout the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), causing sparse damage but requiring large-scale cleanups in their wake. Roads by Amata Kabua International Airport in Majuro was down to single lane traffic Monday afternoon as heavy equipment operators moved up and down...

Niue MP says island’s approach to repatriation unclear, confusing

Long time Niue MP, O’Love Jacobsen, is raising concerns about what she considers Niue’s lackadaisical management of covid testing ahead of flights out of Auckland. She has been stranded in Auckland since early August after leaving Niue for a regular medical treatment. Mrs Jacobsen said she was due to fly back last Tuesday on the...

EU sources say no immediate plan for easing Omicron travel curbs on southern Africa

Dec 6 (Reuters) – European Union health ministers will discuss the coronavirus pandemic and the spread of the Omicron variant on Tuesday, but are not expected to make any decision on easing travel restrictions, three sources told Reuters. Late in November, EU states agreed to impose travel curbs on seven southern African countries after they...

Yemen Houthis bury their dead as fighting rages in gas-rich Marib

SANAA, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis held military funerals on Monday for 25 fighters killed in battles with a Saudi-led coalition, as fighting showed no signs of abating despite intense international diplomacy to end the seven-year-old conflict. The funerals took place amid fierce fighting in the gas-rich Marib province, with warplanes from the...

France can avoid return to lockdown and still save Christmas -PM

PARIS, Dec 6 (Reuters) – France will close nightclubs ahead of Christmas and tighten social distancing measures in response to the emergent Omicron variant of the coronavirus but there is no need for new lockdowns or curfews, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Monday. Castex said a fifth wave of the pandemic was now surging...

Malaria deaths rise by 69,000 in 2020 due to COVID-19 disruptions, says WHO

DAKAR, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Healthcare disruptions linked to the coronavirus pandemic helped malaria kill 69,000 more people in 2020 than the previous year, but a worst-case scenario was averted, the World Health Organization said on Monday. In total over 627,000 people globally – most of them babies in the poorest parts of Africa –...

Three missionaries released in Haiti following October kidnapping

Dec 6 (Reuters) – Three missionaries who were kidnapped in Haiti in October have been released, the U.S. State Department and the Ohio-based missionary group that organized the group’s trip to the Caribbean nation said on Monday. “We are thankful to God that three more hostages were released last night. Those who were released are...

Ukraine shows off U.S. military hardware, vows to fight off Russia

KYIV, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday said his armed forces were capable of fighting off any Russian attack, as the country marked its national army day with a display of U.S. armoured vehicles and patrol boats. U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged his “unwavering support” to Ukraine in its standoff...

New Caledonia referendum challenged in Paris court

A group of citizens in New Caledonia has asked France’s highest administrative court to postpone next Sunday’s third and final independence referendum. In an urgent submission, 146 voters and three organisations said given the impact of the pandemic, it is unthinkable to proceed with such an important plebiscite. They said because of the lockdown, campaigning...

Guam Catholic Church offers up to $US34m to sex abuse victims

Guam’s Catholic Church has come up with a revised payment proposal of up to $US 34 million to those who claimed they were raped or sexually molested by priests and other clergy when they were minors, dating back to the 1950s. That’s more than 100,000 dollars for each sex abuse survivor if the award is...

England has community transmission of Omicron variant, health minister says

LONDON, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Britain’s health minister said on Monday there is now community transmission of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus across regions of England but it is too early to say if this will “knock us off our road to recovery”. Defending the introduction of stricter rules to slow the spread of...

Tonga: Three contenders for prime minister’s job

There are now three people shaping up to contest for the Tonga prime ministership. Tongans went to the polls last month and elected an all-male parliament, with nine new faces coming in via the 17 People’s Representative seats, and three among the nobles. The last day for nominations for the prime minister is Tuesday next...

Myanmar’s deposed leader Suu Kyi found guilty in widely criticised trial

Dec 6 (Reuters) – A court in military-ruled Myanmar found deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi guilty of charges of incitement and breaching coronavirus restrictions on Monday, drawing international condemnation of what critics described as a “sham trial”. Suu Kyi is set to serve two years in detention at an undisclosed location, a sentence reduced from...

Solomon Islands: Sogavare defeats no confidence motion

The Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare has defeated a motion of no confidence by 32 votes to 15 with two abstentions. It was moved by the leader of the opposition Matthew Wale after major political unrest in the capital last month saw three days of rioting, looting and burning of businesses and properties in Honiara. During...

Myanmar court to give first rulings in Suu Kyi trial

A court in Myanmar is due to deliver the first rulings on Monday in the trial of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the popular former leader ousted by the military in a coup 10 months ago. Suu Kyi faces a dozen cases that include multiple corruption charges plus violations of a state secrets act, a telecoms...

Belarus summons Ukrainian military attache over border violation

The Belarusian defence ministry said on Sunday it had summoned Ukraine’s military attaché to protest against what it called repeated violations of Belarus’ airspace by Ukrainian aircraft. Relations between the two countries have plummeted since last year, when Russia sided with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during mass street protests and Lukashenko in turn became more...

America’s Cup: Push for special meeting on a home defence called off

A special meeting due this week seeking to hold the next defence of the America’s Cup in home waters has been called off by the group of yacht squadron members opposing an offshore regatta. Former Team New Zealand board member Jim Farmer QC and 34 members of the Royal New Zealand Squadron (RNZYS) have decided not to...

UK reports 86 new cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant, total 246

Britain’s health security agency on Sunday reported 86 new cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, taking the total number identified so far to 246.

Indonesia Semeru volcanic eruption kills 14; dozens injured

The eruption of Semeru volcano has killed at least 14 people and injured dozens on Java island, Indonesia’s disaster agency said on Sunday, as rescue teams searched for victims under layers of ash, sometimes digging with their bare hands. Semeru, the tallest mountain on Java, threw up towers of ash and hot clouds on Saturday...

COVID-19 curbs China’s power in Indo-Pacific, risks of war ‘significant’ – report

The coronavirus pandemic has weakened China’s power in the Indo-Pacific, and the region’s deepening security uncertainties present a “significant” risk of war, the Lowy Institute said in a report on Sunday. U.S. allies in the region and key balancing powers such as India have never been more dependent on American capacity and willingness to sustain...

Far-right French presidential hopeful promises ‘reconquest’ at rally

French far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour promised on Sunday a “reconquest” against decades of decline at his first political rally, as scuffles with anti-racism protesters broke out on its fringes. “If I win this election, it won’t be another rotation of power but a reconquest of the greatest country in the world,” Zemmour said in...

Japanese princess celebrates coming of age

TOKYO, Dec 5 (Reuters) – Japan’s Princess Aiko, the only child of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, on Sunday celebrated her coming of age at the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo after turning 20 on Wednesday. Aiko, who is not eligible to ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne, limited by law to males, bowed and smiled...

U.S. Democrat Omar: Pelosi to act against Republican for anti-Muslim comments

U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar said on Sunday that she is confident House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will take “decisive action” in coming days against Republican congresswoman Lauren Boebert, for remarks about Omar that have been decried as Islamophobic. Boebert described Omar, a Muslim who was born in Somalia, as a member of a “jihad squad” at...

Chesapeake Energy launches $1 bln stock buyback

Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK.O) said on Thursday it would buy back up to $1 billion of stocks, becoming the latest shale producer to focus on shareholder returns, as energy prices recover from pandemic lows. The company’s shares rose 3.5% to $59 in premarket trading. Profit and cash-flow of shale oil and gas producers have got a boost...

6th December

S.African official says children sick with COVID-19 have mild infections

Higher hospital admissions among children during a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections in South Africa that has been driven by the Omicron coronavirus variant should not prompt panic as infections have been mild, a health official said on Saturday. A large number of infants admitted with COVID-19 last month in Tshwane, the metropolitan area that...

Dyson splits with Malaysia supplier, stoking concern over migrant worker treatment

A short drive across the border from Dyson’s new headquarters in Singapore is the boomtown built around its business: a Malaysian industrial area dominated by its biggest supplier, ATA IMS Bhd (ATAI.KL). ATA, one of Malaysia’s top electronics manufacturing services providers, rode Dyson’s success in high-end vacuum cleaners and air purifiers, supplying parts for a company...

Canadian employers, facing labor shortage, accommodate the unvaccinated

Canada’s tight labor market is forcing many companies to offer regular COVID-19 testing over vaccine mandates, while others are reversing previously announced inoculation requirements even as Omicron variant cases rise. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government adopted one of the strictest inoculation policies in the world for civil servants and has already put more than...

Omicron variant found in at least 15 U.S. states -CDC chief

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has been found in about 15 U.S. states so far, but the Delta variant remains the majority of COVID-19 cases nationwide, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday. “We know we have several dozen cases and we’re following them closely. And we...

Omicron variant found in nearly one-third of U.S. states

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has spread to about one-third of U.S. states, but the Delta version remains the majority of COVID-19 infections as cases rise nationwide, U.S. health officials said on Sunday. Though the emergence of the new variant has caused alarm worldwide, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, told...

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