Friday , February 28 2020
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Author Archives: Associate Editor

Border security deal reached to avert new US shutdown

Democrats and Republicans have reached an agreement in principle over border security to fund the US government and avert another partial shutdown. Lawmakers said the deal had been struck in a closed-door meeting in Washington. No details have been released. Talks had stalled on the detention of undocumented migrants and funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall. Speaking late on ... Read More »

US shutdown talks stall ahead of deadline

Talks between congressional Republicans and Democrats aimed at averting another US government shutdown have broken down without agreement. The negotiators were hoping for a deal by Monday to give Congress time to pass legislation by Friday, when last month’s federal funding deal runs out. The disagreement centres on President Donald Trump’s insistence on a bill that funds a US-Mexico border ... Read More »

The royal upending Thai politics

Thai politics has taken many bizarre turns in recent years. The submission of King Vajiralongkorn’s elder sister as a prime ministerial candidate is one of the strangest, and turns politics on its head. Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi is the candidate for the Thai Raksa Chart party, which is closely linked to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Mr Thaksin’s opponents ... Read More »

Venezuela crisis: Lima Group backs Guaidó

A group of Latin American countries and Canada has urged the Venezuelan military to support opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president. In a statement, 11 of the 14 members of the Lima Group called for a change of power without the use of force and the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid. Mr Guaidó has declared himself interim president and ... Read More »

China’s factory activity shrinks

Chinese factory activity contracted for a second straight month in January, the official Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) showed. The index ticked up to 49.5, but remained below the 50-point level that separates growth from contraction. China reported its weakest economic expansion in 28 years in 2018, and growth is expected to slow further. Already, a number of multinationals have said ... Read More »

May set for further talks with EU leaders

Theresa May is expected to continue talks with EU leaders in the coming days after MPs backed a proposal for her to renegotiate her Brexit deal. MPs voted 317 to 301 in favour of replacing the backstop – the insurance policy designed to avoid a hard border in Ireland in the event of no deal. But the EU has said ... Read More »

Venezuela top court curbs opposition leader Guaidó

Venezuela’s Supreme Court has banned opposition leader Juan Guaidó from leaving the country and frozen his bank accounts. The move comes amid an escalating power struggle, after Mr Guaidó declared himself interim president last week. He has been backed by the US and other countries. President Nicolás Maduro has major allies too, including Russia. The opposition has asked supporters to ... Read More »

21 confirmed dead in Nairobi hotel siege

At least 21 people were killed when Somali militants stormed a luxury hotel compound in Nairobi, Kenya’s government has confirmed. Hundreds were forced to flee the bloodshed at the DusitD2 hotel and business complex on Tuesday. Some 28 injured people have been admitted to hospital, and Kenya’s Red Cross said 19 are still missing. Read More »

May says MPs must ‘work together’ to deliver Brexit

Theresa May has called on MPs to “put self-interest aside” and “work constructively together” to find a way forward for Brexit. Earlier, the prime minister won a vote of no confidence by 325 to 306, as rebel Tory MPs and the DUP backed her to stay in No 10. But just 24 hours before, both groups ensured her Brexit plan ... Read More »

Rihanna takes father to court in trademark dispute

Singer Rihanna has taken her father to court in the US, accusing him of exploiting her name to further his entertainment business. She claims her father, Ronald Fenty, and his business partner have falsely suggested that she is connected to their firm, Fenty Entertainment. Their conduct has misled the public and hurt her Fenty brand, the name of her beauty ... Read More »

Donald Tusk suggests UK should stay in EU

European Council President Donald Tusk has suggested that the UK should stay in the EU, after the prime minister’s Brexit deal was rejected in parliament. “If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?”, he tweeted. MPs voted by 432 votes to 202 ... Read More »

Pound rises after Brexit vote

The pound has risen after MPs voted to reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal by 230 votes. The vote opens up a range of outcomes, including no deal, a renegotiation of Mrs May’s deal, or a second referendum. Sterling rose 0.05% to $1.287 after declines of more than 1% earlier in the day. The currency slumped 7% in 2018 reflecting uncertainty ... Read More »

May’s Brexit deal voted down in historic Commons defeat

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal has been rejected by 230 votes – the largest defeat for a sitting government in history. MPs voted by 432 votes to 202 to reject the deal, which sets out the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU on 29 March. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has now tabled a vote of no confidence in ... Read More »

King ousted from House panels over race remarks

US Republican Steve King has been stripped of his congressional committee seats over comments he made about white supremacy. Republican leaders in the US House of Representatives voted to remove the Iowa congressman from the Judiciary, Agriculture and Small Business panels. Mr King sparked furore for questioning why terms like “white supremacy” are controversial. Read More »

Iran summons Polish top envoy over US summit

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called the planned conference an anti-Iran “circus.” Warsaw has expressed the hope that the summit will help unite the EU and US positions towards Tehran. Iranian authorities summoned Poland’s top envoy to Tehran on Sunday to express their outrage at the news that Warsaw would host a conference on Middle East policy that they ... Read More »

Coal mine roof collapse in Shaanxi kills 21

At least 21 miners died when a roof collapsed in a coal mine in northern China, officials say. Sixty-six miners were rescued after the accident on Saturday at the Lijiagou mine near the city of Shenmu in Shaanxi province. The cause of the collapse is under investigation, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Read More »

Italian ex-militant Battisti arrested in Bolivia

A former communist militant who Brazil’s new president had vowed to extradite has been detained in Bolivia, a Brazilian official said. Italian Cesare Battisti is wanted for four murders in Italy during the 1970s, which he denies committing. Battisti spent years in Brazil as a refugee, backed by former left-wing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. But far-right President Jair ... Read More »

Israeli missiles hit Damascus airport warehouse

Syrian air defenses shot down missiles fired by “Israeli military planes” at around 11.00 p.m. local time (2100 UTC), Syria’s official SANA news agency reported, citing a military source. “Only a ministry of transport warehouse at Damascus international airport was hit,” SANA said. Israel has previously carried out missile strikes against what it says are Iranian military targets and arms ... Read More »

Florida pardons wrongly accused Groveland Four

Four black men who were wrongly accused of raping a white teenager in Florida 70 years ago have been pardoned. Officials voted unanimously to issue the pardon at a meeting in the state capital of Tallahassee on Friday. None of the men are still alive, but their family members were in attendance to plead their innocence. Read More »

German WW1 sub emerges off French coast

The wreck of a World War One German submarine is gradually resurfacing on a beach in northern French after decades of being buried in the sand. Shifting sand off Wissant, near Calais, is exposing the remains of the UC-61 which was stranded there in July 1917. The crew flooded the vessel and abandoned it and by the 1930s the submarine ... Read More »

Australian Open could be Andy Murray’s last tournament

Britain’s Andy Murray says he plans to retire after this year’s Wimbledon but fears next week’s Australian Open could be the final tournament of his career. The three-time Grand Slam winner, who is struggling to recover from hip surgery, was in tears at a news conference in Melbourne on Friday. “I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain ... Read More »

BBC presenter Dianne Oxberry dies aged 51

Award-winning BBC television and radio presenter Dianne Oxberry has died from cancer aged 51, her family has confirmed. She died at the Christie hospital in Manchester on Thursday morning. Oxberry became well-known nationally on Radio 1, working alongside Simon Mayo and Steve Wright. After studying meteorology she became the North West’s weather presenter in 1994 and also fronted the Inside ... Read More »

Trump renews national emergency threat over wall

US President Donald Trump has renewed a threat to declare a national emergency to fund the construction of a wall on the Mexican border. A row with Democrats over funding the wall has left the government partially shut down for 20 days, leaving some 800,000 federal employees unpaid. On Saturday, the shutdown becomes the longest in US history. Read More »

Astronomers detect mysterious radio signals from deep space

Astronomers have revealed details of mysterious signals emanating from a distant galaxy, picked up by a telescope in Canada. The precise nature and origin of the blasts of radio waves is unknown. Among the 13 fast radio bursts, known as FRBs, was a very unusual repeating signal, coming from the same source about 1.5 billion light years away. Read More »

Amazon boss Bezos, wife divorce

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, are to divorce after a 25-year marriage. The pair announced the move in a joint statement on Wednesday on Twitter. “After a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends,” the couple said in the statement. Read More »

Hyundai exhibits ‘walking car’ at CES

Hyundai has shown off a small model of a car it says can activate robotic legs to walk at 3mph (5km/h) over rough terrain. Also able to climb a 5ft (1.5m) wall and jump a 5ft gap, the Hyundai Elevate could be useful for emergency rescues following natural disasters, it said. It was part of a project exploring “beyond the ... Read More »

Ethiopia-Eritrea border trade boom as peace takes hold

The reopening of the border between former enemies Ethiopia and Eritrea has dramatically changed the towns near the frontier, writes the BBC’s Emmanuel Igunza. The sun had just risen but the market in Adigrat was already coming alive when I went to visit. Dozens of makeshift stalls lined the street where a group of women traders were sifting chickpeas. Read More »

Trump demands funding to end border ‘crisis’

US President Donald Trump has demanded funding for his long-promised US-Mexico border wall to halt “a growing humanitarian and security crisis”. But in his first TV address to the nation from the Oval Office, Mr Trump did not declare a national emergency to bypass Congress and build the barrier. In a televised rebuttal, Democratic leaders accused him of holding the ... Read More »

Saudi woman arrested for disobeying her father

Saudi Arabia drew international plaudits last year when it lifted a longstanding ban on women driving. The conservative Gulf kingdom also reversed a ban on sports for women and girls in public schools, and allowed women to watch football matches in stadiums. But activists said the biggest impediment to women’s rights remained in effect. Under what is known as the ... Read More »