People move bags and boxes to a van outside the Chinese consulate in Houston on the last day of a 72-hour deadline for personnel to leave after the US ordered the closure of the diplomatic mission in Texas.
The World Health Organization expressed concern Friday over a coronavirus resurgence in Europe as Britain joined France, Germany and Austria in announcing tighter mask requirements and greater testing. Europe accounts for a fifth of the world's more than 15 million cases and remains the hardest hit in terms of deaths, with 207,118 out of more 630,000 globally since the pandemic emerged in China late last year. Europe like other regions is struggling to balance restrictions to halt the spread of COVID-19 against the need to revive economies as they emerge from some of the world's toughest lockdowns.
Intel plunged 15% after CEO Bob Swan told investors on a conference call late on Thursday that Intel's new 7 nanometer chip technology was six months behind schedule and that Intel may pay other manufacturers to produce its chip designs. Designing and manufacturing its own personal computer and server chips has given Intel a lead over rivals for decades, and a move away from that model would strengthen smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices, which surged 15%. "This, our 45th Intel earnings call, was the worst we have seen in our career covering the company," Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon wrote in a client note, cutting his Intel rating to "underperform".
With the summer vacation season in full swing Germany, France and Norway are taking measures to try to stop people returning from holidays abroad from spreading the coronavirus. The new restrictions, imposed as countries worry about a second COVID-19 wave, could dampen desire to travel abroad and deal a severe blow to Spain's tourism sector, which accounts for some 12% of the country's economic output. Germany said it will offer returning holidaymakers free coronavirus tests.
The transcript from the black boxes from a Ukrainian jet accidentally shot down by Iran on January 8 confirm the fact of illegal interference with the plane, Ukraine's deputy foreign minister wrote on Twitter on Friday. Yevhenii Yenin said Kyiv was expecting an Iranian delegation to visit Ukraine next week for talks. The Canadian Transportation Safety Board said on Thursday an international team examining the black boxes from the jet had completed a preliminary analysis of the data in France.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday there were open questions as to whether lockdown was introduced too late, as COVID-19 was poorly understood in its early stages. "This was something that was new, that we didn't understand in the way that we would have liked in the first few weeks and months, and ... the single thing that we didn't see at the beginning was the extent to which it was being transmitted asymptomatically from person to person," he told the BBC.
A 103-year-old man has recovered from COVID-19 in Pakistan to become one of the oldest survivors of the disease in the world, beating the odds in a country with a weak healthcare system, his relatives and doctors said. Aziz Abdul Alim, a resident of a village in the mountainous northern district of Chitral, was released last week from an emergency response centre after testing positive in early July. "We were worried for him given his age, but he wasn't worried at all," Alim's son Sohail Ahmed told Reuters on the phone from his village, close to Pakistan's border with China and Afghanistan.
Iran protested Friday to the United Nations of a "flagrant violation" of international law after nearby US fighter jets sparked panic on an Iranian passenger plane over war-torn Syria. The incident on Thursday was the latest between arch-foes Tehran and Washington since US President Donald Trump in 2018 walked out of a nuclear accord with Iran and imposed punishing sanctions. Iran's state television broadcast footage filmed on a mobile phone of screaming passengers as the pilot of a Mahan Air plane on a flight from Tehran to Beirut took emergency action.
Global equities took a beating Friday as China-US tensions intensified, while stalled stimulus talks in Washington fuelled fears for the economy, traders said. The Dow was down nearly 140 points approaching midday in New York, "adding to yesterday's declines in morning action as friction between the US and China heated up overnight", said Charles Schwab analysts. Earlier in Asia, Shanghai and Hong Kong had already dived as relations between the world's two superpowers took another bad turn when China ordered the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu in retaliation for America shuttering Beijing's diplomatic mission in Houston this week.
Cratering in the polls, canceling his showcase convention event, and struggling to land punches on his opponent, Donald Trump has only 100 days from Sunday to save his presidency -- and it's not going well. In the latest blow to momentum ahead of November 3, the president announced late Thursday that he was ditching the razzmatazz-filled Republican convention in Florida for next month because of coronavirus fears. An indication of how badly Trump wanted the made-for-TV affair in Jacksonville, complete with screaming crowds, warm-up acts and constant adulation, is that he'd moved it to Florida when coronavirus fears had already scotched his original plans for North Carolina.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday led the first Muslim prayers attended by thousands in Hagia Sophia since the iconic Istanbul cathedral was controversially converted back into a mosque. The UNESCO World Heritage site in historic Istanbul was first built as a cathedral in the Christian Byzantine Empire but was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The Council of State, the highest administrative court, on July 10 unanimously cancelled a 1934 decision by modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to turn it into a museum, saying it was registered as a mosque in its property deeds.
More than 40 countries accused North Korea on Friday of illicitly breaching a United Nations cap on refined petroleum imports and called for an immediate halt to deliveries until the end of the year, according to a complaint seen by Reuters. The 15-member U.N. Security Council imposed an annual cap of 500,000 barrels in December 2017 in a bid to cut off fuel for North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. The complaint said North Korean vessels continue to conduct ship-to-ship transfers at sea "on a regular basis as the DPRK's primary means of importing refined petroleum."
A German woman kidnapped in Baghdad earlier this week was freed overnight and is now in the care of her embassy, officials from the two countries said on Friday. "Security forces have freed activist Hella Mewis," Iraq's military spokesman Yahya Rasool said in a statement. Iraq's interior ministry said a joint task force, including the elite Falcons intelligence forces and federal police and anti-crime units, carried out the operation in east Baghdad.
Sales of new homes in the United States jumped 13.8 percent in June from the previous month, the Commerce Department said on Friday. Growth was seen in every region, with the northeast, home to the largest early outbreak of COVID-19, seeing sales spike 89.7 percent. Inventory also tightened to 4.7 months from 5.5 months in May. Analysts said the sector was supported by cheap mortgages following the Federal Reserve's lowering of its benchmark lending rate in March to 0-0.25 percent, as well as the easing of lockdowns meant to stop the coronavirus.
Austria's push to test large numbers of hotel staff for the coronavirus in a bid to reassure tourists is falling far short of its target as too few people have signed up, Tourism Minister Elisabeth Koestinger said on Friday. The total number of tests carried out so far, however, is just a fraction of that, Koestinger told ORF radio, putting it at more than 14,000. "We have achieved the capacity to be able to carry out 65,000 tests (a week)... Now we need the businesses, the employees to register, to take part and above all to let themselves be tested regularly," Koestinger said, without explaining why so few had signed up.
The updated advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was posted Thursday night, and came a few weeks after it was asked to change course by President Donald Trump. "Being at the school, being on the campus, is very, very important," President Donald Trump told White House reporters Thursday. The CDC's earlier guidelines had emphasized extreme caution, but the agency was asked by Trump earlier this month to revisit the topic.
Balloons are perhaps not a frequent sight at protests, but the two clutched by Devon Fredericksen in the streets of Portland tell the story -- together, they read 57. "How much longer is this going to take past 57?" The city, the biggest in the US state of Oregon, has seen nightly demonstrations against racism and police brutality for nearly two months, initially sparked by the death in Minneapolis of unarmed African American George Floyd. It is also now the scene of a controversial crackdown by federal agents ordered by US President Donald Trump -- one that is not supported by local officials.
"This step is about an effort to protect public safety and to preserve a safe space for an inclusive and democratic public dialogue about our city's symbols," Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office said in a statement. Protesters for racial equality have targeted Columbus monuments across the United States, challenging heroic portrayals of him in American education that downplay or ignore the explorer's cruelty toward indigenous people of the Americas.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex advised people on Friday not to travel to the neighbouring northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia in a bid to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. Castex's recommendation was the latest blow to Spain's beleaguered tourism sector after Norway announced that travellers returning from the country would have to undergo a 10-day quarantine. The French border with Spain remains open, but Castex said he was in talks with Madrid to reduce traffic flow.
Thirty-one more workers at a German abattoir hit by a coronavirus outbreak in mid-June have this week tested positive, authorities said on Friday. Coronavirus outbreaks at several slaughterhouses in Germany have forced meatpacking plants to review cooling systems amid global concern over airborne transmission risks. The plant reopened last week after a new health and safety plan was introduced including testing all workers twice a week for coronavirus.
Church bells across Greece tolled in mourning on Friday as the first Islamic prayers in nine decades were held at Hagia Sophia in Turkey, marking the monument's conversion into a mosque. Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan joined huge crowds in Istanbul for prayers at Hagia Sophia, sealing his ambition to restore Muslim worship at the ancient site which most Greeks consider as central to their Orthodox Christian religion. Greek criticism of the conversion has been scathing, underscoring often tense relations between Greece and Turkey.