politics

‘Not enough info’ to evaluate Russian coronavirus vaccine: Live

The World Health Organization has not received enough information on the Russian COVID-19 vaccine to evaluate it, the assistant director of its regional branch, the Pan American Health Organization, Jarbas Barbosa has said. President Vladimir Putin said Russia has developed the first vaccine offering “sustainable immunity” against coronavirus. Worldwide coronavirus cases have surpassed 20 million, with Brazil and Mexico reporting a combined 27,000 infections in just one day. More than 12.2 million have recovered, and almost 735,000 have died from the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally. Here are the latest updates: Tuesday, August 11 17:00 GMT – France’s new COVID-19 infections nearly double in a day French health authorities reported ...

Judges sceptical about dropping case against Trump ex-aide Flynn

United States appeals court judges on Tuesday signalled scepticism toward a bid by President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn to compel a federal judge to immediately drop the criminal case against him as the Department of Justice has demanded – even though Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Ten judges from the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit were hearing arguments in the politically charged case after a three-judge panel, in a 2-1 ruling on June 24, directed US District Judge Emmet Sullivan to grant the Justice Department’s motion to clear Flynn. Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, was charged under former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that detailed Moscow’s election meddling....

US: Baltimore explosion death toll climbs as survivor rescued

Two people are now confirmed dead following a natural gas explosion that destroyed three row houses in the eastern United States city of Baltimore and sent seven people to the hospital, authorities said Tuesday. Baltimore Fire Department spokeswoman Blair Adams said Tuesday morning that a man was pulled from the debris shortly before 1am (05:00 GMT). A woman had been pronounced dead at the scene shortly after Monday morning’s explosion. Seven others were hospitalised, five in critical condition, Adams said. The conditions of the other two were still being determined, she said. More than 200 people in the neighbourhood were affected by the blast, and about 30 have been in temporary shelters since the explosion, Adams said. The natural gas explosion Monday morning levelled three row ho...

Mnangagwa risks spat with Ramaphosa, blocks envoys from meeting rivals

HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa risked a diplomatic spat with South Africa on Monday after blocking two special envoys sent by President Cyril Ramaphosa to gather information on human rights violations in Zimbabwe from meeting his rivals and rights groups. Mnangagwa met the three-team delegation of Baleka Mbethe, Sydney Mafamadi and Ngoako Ramatlhodi at State House during which he reportedly told them there was “no crisis in Zimbabwe.” The main opposition MDC Alliance said Ramaphosa’s office contacted them last Saturday to prepare a five-person delegation to meet his envoys on Monday. In a statement announcing the Zimbabwe mission last week, Ramaphosa had said the delegation would “engage the government of Zimbabwe and relevant stakeholders to identify possible ways in which South Af...

‘Endemic corruption’ caused Beirut blast, says Diab: Live updates

Lebanon’s Justice Minister Marie Claude Najm, Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad, and Environment Minister Damianos Kattar have all resigned from their posts. Lebanese police fired tear gas to try to disperse rock-throwing protesters blocking a road near Parliament in Beirut on Sunday in a second day of anti-government demonstrations triggered by last week’s devastating explosion. International leaders joined a virtual donor conference led by France and the UN in the aftermath of the devastating explosion, pledging nearly $300m in humanitarian assistance that will be “directly delivered to the Lebanese population”. US President Donald Trump has announced that the US will give “substantial” aid to Lebanon, but did not specify how m...

Hong Kong: China imposes tit-for-tat sanctions on US legislators

China has imposed sanctions on 11 United States citizens, including legislators, in a tit-for-tat response to the United States’ sanctions on 11 Hong Kong and Chinese officials accused of curtailing political freedoms in the Asian financial hub. Among those targeted on Monday were US Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley and Pat Toomey and Representative Chris Smith, as well as individuals at non-profit and rights groups. “In response to that wrong US behaviour, China has decided to impose sanctions on individuals who have behaved egregiously on Hong Kong-related issues,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular press briefing. He did not specify what the sanctions entail. “Last month #China banned me. Today they sanctioned me....

Lebanon PM Hassan Diab resigns amid anger over Beirut blast

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab has announced his resignation almost a week after a massive explosion that devastated the capital, Beirut, killing some 200 people and wounding 6,000 others. Diab made the announcement in a televised address to the nation on Monday. The move risks opening the way to dragged-out negotiations over a new Cabinet amid urgent calls for reform. Diab said is taking “a step back” so he can stand with the people “and fight the battle for change alongside them.” “I declare today the resignation of this government. May God protect Lebanon,” he said, repeating the last phrase three times. “This crime” was a result of endemic corruption, Diab added, and called for the trying those responsible for the deadly blast. ...

Zimbabwe president decries ‘divisive falsehoods’ over rights abuse claims

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday called criticism of human rights abuses by his government “divisive falsehoods” and said his administration was under renewed attack from domestic and foreign opponents. Mnangagwa, during a Heroes Day speech in Harare, said the allegations were “unjustified attacks by our perennial detractors, both inside and outside our border”. “The divisive falsehoods and concoctions by renegades and supremacists who want to pounce on our natural resources will never win the day. Truth shall triumph over lies, and good over evil,” said Mnangagwa, who replaced Robert Mugabe after a 2017 coup. Hopes that Mnangagwa would unite a polarised country and revive a stricken economy following the Mugabe era have been dashed. Like his predecessor, Mnangagw...

African Union voices concern over ‘violation of rights’ in Zimbabwe

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat has issued a rare rebuke of a member state after expressing concern at reports of the use of “disproportionate force” by Zimbabwe’s security forces in enforcing Covid-19 emergency measures. Mahamat also called on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime to stop a crackdown on journalists, trade union leaders and health workers. Mnangagwa’s opponents say he has used the Covid-19 pandemic to close the democratic space after declaring a virtual state of emergency, with all movement controlled by the military and police at checkpoints all across the country. “Cognisant of the existing harsh socio-economic situation in the country, the chairperson urges the Zimbabwe authorities to respond to the pandemic ensuring that th...

Malema calls for Beitbridge blockade, urges ‘real revolution’ in Zimbabwe

BULAWAYO – South African opposition leader Julius Malema on Sunday urged Zimbabwean youths to take decisive steps to end President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s increasingly autocratic rule, warning that social media activism alone would not bring about the desired change. Zimbabwe is going through its worst economic crisis in over a decade, with inflation of over 700 percent. Many blame Mnangagwa, the 77-year-old successor of Robert Mugabe, for the crisis which has seen doctors and nurses going on an indefinite strike in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. Economic Freedom Fighters leader Malema spoke at a Women’s Day event close to the grave of anti-apartheid icon Winnie Mandela, charging that Zimbabwean women wake up everyday with a threat of arrest, abduction or rape by Mnangagwa’s shock troop...

UK coronavirus cases top 1,000 for first time in months: Live

Britain reported over 1,000 new coronavirus infections, the highest daily rise in new COVID-19 cases late June. The United States has set a record for coronavirus cases, with more than five million people now infected, according to a Reuters tally, as the country’s top infectious diseases official offered hope earlier this week that an effective vaccine might be available by year-end. Brazil’s coronavirus deaths have surpassed 100,000 deaths five months after the first reported case in a sign that the country has not contained the deadly disease. New Zealand marked 100 days without a domestic transmission of the coronavirus on Sunday, but warned against complacency as countries like Vietnam and Australia battle a resurgence in infections. At least 19.67 mill...

Lebanon’s environment minister quits gov’t as anger grows: Live

International leaders joined a virtual donor conference led by France and the United Nations. In opening remarks, French President Emmanuel Macron urged world leaders to come together and help “Lebanon and its people”. Lebanon’s information minister Manal Abdel Samad announced her resignation, saying Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government failed to live up to the aspirations of the Lebanese people. Shortly after, environment minister Damianos Kattar also resigned from his post. At least 728 people have been wounded in clashes with authorities as thousands of protesters hit the streets of central Beirut as riot police fire tear gas at those trying to break through a barrier to the parliament building. One police officer was also reported killed. At le...