The World Health Organization says the South African COVID-19 variant has been detected in Singapore based on unofficial sources.Not been officially verified by authorities here »
Ukraine on Wednesday urged Western allies to show they were prepared to punish Moscow with new sanctions, including kicking Russia out of the global SWIFT payments system, to deter the Kremlin from resorting to more military force against Ukraine. In an interview with Reuters, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said while Kyiv had no new information indicating that Russia had decided to take new military action against Ukraine, it was important for the West to act now to prevent that happening. Ukraine is trying to shore up international support in its standoff with Moscow over a build-up of Russian troops on its eastern border and in Crimea.
The UAE announced Wednesday it had given nearly 10 million vaccine doses, equal to one for every resident, after warning that those who remained unvaccinated would face restrictions on their movement.
New York City announced a $30 million advertising campaign Wednesday designed to entice tourists back to the Big Apple and revive an economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 250 people demanded Russian President Vladimir Putin free jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, chanting "Freedom to Navalny" outside the Russian embassy in London on Wednesday. Navalny has become the leader of the disparate opposition groups which oppose Putin, a former KGB spy who has ruled Russia since 1999 when Boris Yeltsin handed him power. "Putin is an old fashioned demagogue but with a background in the secret service so he is very well equipped to be a tyrant," said John Taylor, a British man who joined the protest holding a white plastic lavatory brush.
No cameras will be allowed during the trial starting May 3 in Oakland, California, between "Fortnite" creator Epic and Apple, U.S. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said during a pretrial conference on Wednesday. Epic last year implemented its own in-app payment system on iPhones to avoid Apple's fees, a violation of Apple's App Store rules.
Intensive care workers in Uruguay are at their wits' end. While they work day and night to save the lives of coronavirus patients, the population at large, they say, seems unperturbed by the mounting health crisis.
President Joe Biden hopes to rally the world on climate as he unveils more ambitious US commitments Thursday at a summit that will bring on board adversaries China and Russia and follows firmer commitments by the European Union and Britain.
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that the European Union needs more power to coordinate the bloc's response to health crises like the coronavirus pandemic, and did not rule out a treaty change to secure them.
A panel of U.S. Senators questioned officials from Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google on Wednesday about the dominance of their mobile app stores and whether the companies abuse their power at the expense of smaller competitors. Amy Klobuchar, the top Senate Democrat on antitrust issues, said Apple and Google can use their power to "exclude or suppress apps that compete with their own products" and "charge excessive fees that affect competition." App makers like music streaming service Spotify Technology SA and dating services giant Match Group, which owns the Tinder app, have long complained that mandatory revenue sharing for sales of digital goods and strict inclusion rules set by Apple's App Store for iPhones and iPads, along with Google's Play store for Android devices, amount to anticompetitive behavior.
A growing number of countries are stamping out malaria, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, as it launched an initiative to help eradicate the deadly disease in 25 more countries by 2025.
Twenty-two Covid-19 patients at a hospital in India were killed on Wednesday when the oxygen supply to their ventilators was disrupted by a leak.
Phnom Penh went into lockdown on April 15 and has declared some districts "red zones," banning people from leaving their homes except for medical reasons. A Phnom Penh police spokesman said the caning and arrests were in order to save lives, claiming that most of the public supported them. "The Phnom Penh administration has decided that no one is allowed to leave their homes because the area is at risk of infections," spokesman San Sokseiha said.
He's premier of Germany's most populous state and chairman of its biggest party, but across the country and even in his home town Armin Laschet is struggling to convince voters he is the man to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor. After a week-long feud, Germany's conservatives on Tuesday opted to back Laschet, a cautious centrist, instead of his more popular Bavarian rival, Markus Soeder, as their candidate to succeed Merkel in a September national election. In Laschet's home town of Aachen, near the Belgian and Dutch borders in Germany's far west, voters appeared uninspired by the possibility of their man becoming chancellor.
Francois Mayor nudged back on the power and made a subtle adjustment on the wheel as he coaxed his cargo vessel through a narrow point in the Suez Canal -- not the Egyptian one, but a replica in the middle of a French forest. This stretch of water was built to train ship captains and maritime pilots how to navigate the Suez Canal -- a skill now in the spotlight after the Ever Given cargo ship got wedged in the Egyptian waterway last month in high winds and a sandstorm. The channel is built to one twenty-fifth the scale of a section of the real Suez Canal.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The European Commission on Wednesday announced tough draft rules on the use of artificial intelligence, including a ban on most surveillance, in an attempt to set global standards for a key technology dominated by China and the United States. Tech lobbying group CCIA said the rules should not create more red tape for companies and users.
Amazon is once again pushing the boundaries of e-commerce. After opening its own bricks and mortar bookstore in New York, Jeff Bezos's company has announced the opening of its own hair salon in London. An unexpected project that should allow it to boost its prowess in "beauty tech."
After years studying the icy waters of the Southern Ocean with floating robotic monitors, a consortium of oceanographers and other researchers is deploying them across the planet, from the north Pacific to the Indian Ocean. The project known as the Global Ocean Biogeochemistry Array, or GO-BGC, started in March with the launch of the first of 500 new floating robotic monitors containing computers, hydraulics, batteries and an array of sensors scientists say will relay a more comprehensive picture of the ocean and its health.
Israel no longer wants AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine and is exploring with the company whether a big shipment in the pipeline could be sent elsewhere, Israel's pandemic coordinator said on Wednesday. In his remarks, Ash made no reference to AstraZeneca's vaccine having been associated with very rare blood clots in Europe. Many countries there resumed administering it after the European Union's drug watchdog said benefits outweighed risks.
BERLIN (Reuters) -Police clashed with protesters in Berlin on Wednesday as they tried to disperse a rally against the coronavirus lockdown, as parliament approved a law to give Chancellor Angela Merkel's government more powers to fight a third wave of the pandemic. Merkel drew up the law after some of Germany's 16 federal states refused to impose tough measures despite a surge in cases. Police said on Twitter they would break up the protest because many in the crowds of demonstrators were not wearing face masks or keeping a distance from one another.
A Legislative Council candidate’s death or disqualification during the race for a directly elected seat will trigger the postponement of that particular geographical constituency contest, according to a senior Hong Kong official. The constituency’s elections would be rescheduled under changes designed to avoid a candidate winning a seat without challenge, said Roy Tang Yun-kwong, permanent secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs. The new amendment was outlined to lawmakers on Wednesday as part of the government’s implementation of the drastic Beijing-decreed reforms to the city’s electoral system.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. Hong Kong electoral changes: China’s top legislative body approves overhaul The overhaul slashes the number of directly elected seats in geographical constituencies from 35 to 20 in an expanded 90-member legislature. Under the Hong Kong government’s amendments, the city will be divided into 10 constituencies each returning two elected representatives to Legco. The arrangement – in contrast to the previous system of proportional representation – is likely to discourage both sides of the political spectrum from putting forward more than one contestant in each constituency, as winning both seats there would become almost impossible. But it remains to be seen whether any opposition party will even want to advance any candidates given the stringent vetting mechanisms imposed by Beijing. Tang and his colleagues told lawmakers that pulling elections in the event of a candidate’s death or disqualification was not new, although it had previously only applied to the trade-based functional constituencies, which have smaller electorates and often fewer contenders. “If it so happened that only two candidates would take part in the election, or even three, the public would still lose the chance to vote for their ideal candidate. That’s why we have made reference to the way in which we deal with the situation in the functional constituencies,” Tang said to city legislators scrutinising draft legislation underpinning the reforms. The lawmakers are going through the Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021, which carries more than 700 pages of legal amendments required for the central government’s grand plan to take effect. If the mechanism was triggered, Tang said, the elections in a specific geographical constituency would be pushed back to a later date to allow Legco aspirants to sign up for the rescheduled race, while polls for directly elected seats in other parts of the city would go ahead. But the arrangement prompted pro-establishment lawmakers to flag concerns over electoral fairness and campaign expenses. Some from the camp also feared the system could be weaponised by those wanting to disrupt the elections. But officials dismissed such concerns, saying a newly installed vetting committee would screen out those intent on disorder. Pro-establishment lawmaker Alice Mak Mei-kuen, from the Federation of Trade Unions (FTU), said cancelling a functional constituency election was straightforward because the scale of campaigning was often far below that for a geographical seat. But doing the same in a higher-stakes geographic constituency race ran the risk of being “really unfair” to the remaining candidate, said Mak, who represents the New Territories West constituency. Lawmakers demand would-be candidates publicly disclose foreign citizenship Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, from the New People Party, and FTU’s Wong Kwok-kin – both elected through geographical electorates and Executive Council advisers – took issue with the government’s refusal to reimburse affected candidates if elections were called off. Tang, the permanent secretary, pledged to look into that issue again. Concerned about the potential exploitation of loopholes, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress’ Chan Hak-kan, for the New Territories East constituency, asked what would happen if candidates signed up for elections knowing they could be disqualified. Tang also pointed to the new vetting committee intervening early to stop those candidates, while assuring Chan such scenarios would be rare. Hong Kong’s electoral shake-up part of Beijing’s two-step strategy The amendment bill previously drew flak from critics over the government redefining boundaries of the geographical constituencies without involving the Electoral Affairs Commission, the statutory body overseeing the city’s electoral matters. The previous five constituencies – Hong Kong Island, Kowloon East, Kowloon West, New Territories East and New Territories West – have been divided into 10: Hong Kong Island East, Hong Kong Island West, Kowloon East, Kowloon Central, Kowloon West, New Territories South West, New Territories North West, New Territories North, New Territories North East and New Territories South East. Tang said the government went ahead with the delineation process on this occasion because of time constraints, but said responsibility for doing so in the future would rest with the commission. Under the shake-up of Hong Kong’s electoral system announced last month, Legco is expanding from 70 to 90 seats, despite the chamber’s reduction in directly elected seats. A newly empowered Election Committee, which is dominated by Beijing loyalists, will send 40 representatives to the legislature. The Election Committee will have the gatekeeping power to decide which Legco candidates to nominate, while hopefuls will also have to get through a screening process by a vetting committee advised by national security police officers. The government aims to pass the local legislation enabling the electoral overhaul in May.More from South China Morning Post:Concession or control? Beijing’s electoral overhaul for Hong Kong and what it means for opposition strongholdsHong Kong elections reform: Carrie Lam promises fast-track legislative process for Beijing-decreed overhaulThis article New Hong Kong elections rule allows postponement of contests in specific Legislative Council constituencies first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Keen to make the most of a statutory holiday for newlyweds, a couple from Taiwan found a novel way to maximise their honeymoon -- by marrying four times in just over a month.
Beneath the scorching sun that beats down on Senegal's savannah, the verdant gardens of Ndem village are a sanctuary. They are members of Baye Fall, a branch of Senegal's Muslim Mouride brotherhood who believe that labour is a form of prayer. "We are pushed towards the love of sharing, of work, reflecting on the improvement of living conditions in our environment in harmony with nature," said 29-year-old Fallou Mbow, whose great-great-grandfather founded the village.
Britain's goal to be a leader in adopting self-driving cars could backfire unless automakers and government regulators spell out the current limitations of the technology, insurance companies warn. Insurers are key players in the shift to automated driving, with some investing in a technology they believe will slash accidents and deaths, and save them billions in payouts. But they are worried drivers might equate today's lower levels of automation with fully self-driving vehicles, potentially causing more accidents in the short term and permanently damaging public confidence in the technology.
German COVID-19 vaccine maker BioNtech is open to further capacity expansion and the construction of new production facilities depending on demand, Chief Financial Officer Sierk Poetting said. Poetting said if premises were available, BioNtech could build up additional production capacity in six months, adding that discussions were ongoing. BioNTech in February launched production at its new site in the city of Marburg, which it purchased from Novartis last year, raising its annual capacity by around 1 billion doses.
France plans to lift travel restrictions and ease a nationwide curfew on May 2 on expectations that daily Covid-19 cases will soon start to fall, a source close to the presidency told AFP.