Suicide attempts, fights aboard rescue boat carrying 180 migrantsIn limbo off LampedusaABOARD THE OCEAN VIKING IN THE MEDITERRANEAN - After suicide attempts, fights erupting on board, and migrants jumping into the sea, charity SOS Mediterranee launched an emergency alert on Friday, demanding to be allowed to immediately disembark at a safe port. Tensions have risen in the past week, as witnessed by an AFP reporter aboard the boat, as migrants have become increasingly desperate to reach land. A member of the crew, Ludovic, told AFP he had never witnessed such violence on board a rescue vessel, after a spate of fights between migrants and threats of suicide. Italy responded with the telephone number of a psychologist, SOS Mediterranee said. - No answer -At times, all the members of the SOS Mediterranee rescue team have been on deck in order to calm tense situations.
July 03, 2020 20:15 UTC
Lockdown heroes: couriers get Moscow monumentHonouring the heroes of the Russian delivery revolutionMOSCOW - A group of Russian e-commerce companies said Friday they had erected a monument in Moscow thanking couriers for helping people through the coronavirus lockdown. The tribute comes after some delivery workers, many of whom are impoverished migrants from Central Asia, protested against conditions they said were unfair. In Moscow "there were more than 60,000 couriers working during the lockdown as demand for delivery services skyrocketed", they said. In a video posted on Telegram messenger, striking couriers in the Moscow satellite town of Khimki shouted: "We're not robots! Delivery Club said subsequently that it had dropped the increase in distance of deliveries and would not penalise those involved.
July 03, 2020 18:00 UTC
UK, Indian firm salvage satellite operator OnewebThe deal is aimed at delivering Britain's "first UK sovereign space capability"LONDON - The UK government and Indian telecoms giant Bharti are to take control of the collapsed satellite firm Oneweb, they said Friday, as Britain seeks to expand its post-Brexit space capabilility. The deal is aimed at delivering Britain's "first UK sovereign space capability," the statement said. "The deal will support the UK to be a pioneer in the research, development, manufacturing, and exploitation of novel satellite technologies, whilst boosting UK manufacturing," the spokesman said. "It will also allow the UK to explore other potential strategic opportunities, working with our international allies." Oneweb added in a separate statement that the rescue deal would help it emerge from bankruptcy with a "robust foundation" to continue commercial operations.
July 03, 2020 14:37 UTC
Britain eases quarantine as US under siegeRio de Janeiro is reopening despite Brazil's surging coronavirus outbreak. LONDON: Britain on Friday announced the first exemptions from its quarantine rules as the coronavirus outbreak slowed in Europe, but excluded the United States as the pandemic accelerates in the United States and across the Americas. In Europe, countries are trying to safely revive a struggling tourism sector as the northern hemisphere summer gets underway. But the United States and Greece, another popular travel destination, will be designated with a red light, which requires 14 days of self-isolation. Indigenous people across Latin America have been particularly hard hit due to weak immune systems and centuries of state neglect.
July 03, 2020 13:30 UTC
Ride-hailing and delivery business to benefit from identity of regional parentThe ride-hailing and delivery service Get will be rebranded as Gojek Thailand in line with its regional peers. (Bangkok Post photo)Get, the local ride-hailing and delivery unit of the Indonesian unicorn Gojek, plans to consolidate and rebrand as Gojek Thailand, aiming to drive international technology adoption and usher in new features and products for Thai consumers. Get Thailand said the Gojek app is supported by a new international technology platform, meaning Thai users can also gain access to Gojek services in Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam. He said the local leadership team at Get would continue to steer Gojek Thailand, with no impact on the ownership structure. “Gojek should have done this at the beginning, as the Gojek brand is well recognised as a startup unicorn by young customers,” Mr Weeradej said.
July 03, 2020 13:07 UTC
Consumer prices could contract by an average of 1.1% under revised forecastShoppers buy groceries at The Mall Bang Kapi on May 17. Headline inflation in the country has fallen for four consecutive months. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)Deflation is expected to be greater than originally forecast, the Commerce Ministry said on Friday, after consumer prices in June contracted for the fourth straight month. The ministry downgraded its annual headline inflation forecast to a range of -0.7% to -1.5%, with an average of -1.1%, from a range of -0.2% to -1.0%, an average of -0.6%. For the first half of the year, headline inflation was -1.13% and core inflation was 0.32%.
July 03, 2020 13:07 UTC
Travellers gather outside the Beijing West Railway Station on Friday. Residents from areas of Beijing designated “low-risk” will be allowed to leave the city without having to be tested negative for the coronavirus starting on Saturday, said Pan Xuhong, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Public Security. A similar surge in travel demand occurred in April, when Beijing lowered its emergency response level for the first time since the epidemic first began in January. However, local governments in other provinces still get to decide whether or not people arriving from Beijing have to be tested or quarantined, and the rules vary across the country. The city reported just two new cases on July 2.
July 03, 2020 12:56 UTC
Bangkok and Chiang Mai among top 30 in latest Asia survey, thanks to strong bahtBangkok is the 28th most expensive city in Asia in the latest ECA survey on the cost of living for expatriates. (Reuters photo)Bangkok and Chiang Mai remain among the 30 most expensive cities for expats in Asia, with Ashgabat in Turkmenistan still on top of the global and Asian tables. The Thai capital ranked 28th, one place above Chiang Mai, according to the latest ECA International survey on the cost of living for expatriates. In the global rankings, Bangkok was 60th and Chiang Mai 142nd, it added. Singapore was also the most expensive place for expats in Southeast Asia.
July 03, 2020 11:58 UTC
Japan plots shift from coal to renewable energyKyushu Electric Power Co halted operation of a reactor of Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima prefecture, southweatern Japan, on March 16, 2020, due to a delay in upgrades to protect it from terror attacks. (Kyodo photo)TOKYO: Japan will begin discussions this month on concrete steps to reduce its dependence on coal and shift towards renewable energy sources to cut down on carbon emissions, Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said Friday. Japan currently depends on coal to generate 32% of its electricity, compared with just 17% generated by renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. Kajiyama said the government will look for ways to promote renewable energy, including by reforming rules on using the power grid. Under its Strategic Energy Plan, released in 2018, Japan aims to reduce its dependence on coal to 26% by fiscal 2030, while boosting its reliance on renewable energy to 22 to 24%, and nuclear energy from 6% to 20 to 22%.
July 03, 2020 11:37 UTC
A doctor and medical staff demonstrate the lab workflow at the Covid-19 testing laboratory at Suvarnabhumi airport on Friday. (Reuters Photo)Suvarnabhumi airport on Friday unveiled rapid coronavirus tests that will be offered for some overseas arrivals now that the three-month ban on foreign visitors has been partially lifted. Business travellers, diplomats and government guests staying for less than 14 days are considered “fast-track travellers” who will be swab tested for the disease at the country’s main international airport to make ensure they are infection-free before entry. The government is considering a plan to open more international travel with a “travel bubble” arrangement with some countries in September, he added. Last year, spending by a record 39.8 million foreign tourists accounted for about 11% of GDP.
July 03, 2020 11:26 UTC
England scraps quarantine for 50 countries but not USThe two-week quarantine period was imposed in JuneLONDON: Travellers from more than 50 countries including France, Italy and Spain — but not the United States — can stop self-isolating on arrival in England from July 10, the UK government said Friday. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the change, which reverses a two-week quarantine policy imposed in June, would lead to the "reopening of the nation". Travellers from the green and amber countries will no longer have to self-isolate on arrival. The amber countries will have reciprocal arrangements in place with England, while the green countries are deemed to be safer than England, such as New Zealand. The amber countries include France, Italy and Spain, which are among the most popular summer holiday destinations for Britons.
July 03, 2020 11:03 UTC
Governor’s Message on International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit TraffickingOn 26th June 2020, Pol. This also includes campaigns to protect children, youths, and the general public from the illicit use of narcotic drugs. People in villages and communities are the main forces in successfully solving the drug problem. The aim is to make all areas safe with no new drug users. That way, the new generation of young people will not use drugs and society will be sustainably free from the scourge of narcotic drugs.
July 03, 2020 10:52 UTC
Prince Andrew 'bewildered' by US investigators' claimsPrince Andrew is "bewildered" by US prosecutors' claims that he is running shy of giving his version of events. LONDON: Prince Andrew is "bewildered" by claims he is stonewalling a US investigation into the alleged sex trafficking of minors by British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, his legal team said Friday. Andrew has since faced claims from US prosecutors that he is avoiding their requests for a face-to-face interview. - 'More excuses' -Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss told reporters on Thursday she would "welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk with us". A lawyer who represents some of Epstein's alleged victims told British television on Friday that the prince was "avoiding and evading" the US authorities.
July 03, 2020 10:47 UTC
China taking on more conflict around the worldConfrontations from Himalayan valleys to tropical islands are seen as part of President Xi Jinping's nationalist drive to return a once-weak China to its rightful place of dominance in the world. BEIJING: From remote Himalayan valleys to small tropical islands and tense Western capitals, an increasingly assertive China is taking on conflicts around the world like never before as the United States retreats. China has in recent years also stepped up its claims to most of the South China Sea by building artificial islands and establishing a heavy military presence. - Diplomatic tensions -China has also seen relations with a range of Western nations plummet, as it has adopted increasingly strident diplomatic tactics. But, after Western nations failed to control their own outbreaks, China went on the offensive, with Australia one of its main targets.
July 03, 2020 10:47 UTC
French government resigns, Macron sets 'new course'Edouard Philippe Philippe has served as prime minister of France for three years. A government source confirmed to AFP that Prime Minister Edouard Philippe would be leaving his job after serving Macron since the president came to power in 2017 elections. In an interview with regional newspapers published late Thursday, Macron said France must prepare for a "very difficult" economic crisis, "so we have to chart a new course." An Elysee Palace official told AFP that a new prime minister would be named "in the coming hours," and possibly the new cabinet cast as well. But while Philippe's approval ratings have surged over his handling of the coronavirus crisis, Macron was widely expected to try to burnish his social justice credentials with a more centrist or leftwing premier.
July 03, 2020 10:41 UTC