World

Alec Baldwin seeks dismissal of civil suit over fatal ‘Rust’ shooting

LOS ANGELES, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Attorneys for Alec Baldwin and other producers of the movie “Rust” are asking a court to dismiss a civil lawsuit filed by a script supervisor who was on the...

Trump is nowhere – and everywhere – in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race

PHILADELPHIA, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Former President Donald Trump is nowhere to be seen in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race, but he nonetheless is shaping the election as Republican candidates vie for his support and the state party considers skipping an endorsement to avoid being at odds with him. Trump has not revealed whether he will...

Cardinal skips Vatican trial to boycott talk of rumoured liaison with woman

VATICAN CITY, Jan 25 (Reuters) – A cardinal who is a defendant in a Vatican corruption trial stayed away on Tuesday because he did not want to be in the room when lawyers spoke of rumours that he had an intimate relationship with a woman, which he has denied. The trial, in which 10 defendants...

Deadlock over Italian presidency as centre-right proposals fall flat

ROME, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Italy’s lawmakers failed on Tuesday for a second day running to elect a new head of state, with party leaders struggling to find a consensus candidate. Although Prime Minister Mario Draghi remains a frontrunner, worries that his promotion to president might cause his coalition government to disintegrate and trigger early...

Saudi Arabia, Thailand agree to restore full diplomatic ties

CAIRO, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia and Thailand agreed on Tuesday to exchange ambassadors in the first high-level meeting between the two countries since a row over a jewellery theft nearly three decades ago led the Gulf state to downgrade ties. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and visiting Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha...

Qatar’s emir to visit Washington on Jan. 31

DOHA/WASHINGTON, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Qatar’s ruling emir plans to visit Washington on Jan. 31, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters, a trip likely to address Afghanistan, the security of gas supplies to Europe as well as Iran. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani’s visit, the first since President Joe Biden took office a...

Bolsonaro’s far-right guru Carvalho dies at 74 in United States

BRASILIA, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Brazilian Conservative ideologue Olavo de Carvalho, who was President Jair Bolsonaro’s political guru, died on Monday night at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia in the United States, his family said on his social media accounts. He was 74. The Folha de S. Paulo newspaper reported that Carvalho was diagnosed with...

Germany plans vaccine mandate amid qualms over rights

BERLIN, Jan 25 (Reuters) – German lawmakers are due to debate introducing a bill making vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory. The idea is facing resistance from politicians as well as ordinary Germans. Some of the main issues: Why does Germany want to introduce a vaccine mandate? The government is worried that rising COVID-19 infections and the...

COVID is less severe with Omicron than Delta, U.S. study suggests

Jan 25 (Reuters) – The Omicron variant appears to result in less severe COVID-19 than seen during previous periods of high coronavirus transmission including the Delta wave, with shorter hospital stays, less need for intensive care and fewer deaths, according to a new U.S. study. However, the fast-spreading Omicron variant has led to record numbers...

U.S. funding to WHO fell by 25% during pandemic

BRUSSELS/GENEVA, Jan 25 (Reuters) – U.S. financial contributions to the World Health Organization (WHO) have fallen by 25% during the coronavirus pandemic, provisional data show, with Washington’s future support to the United Nations agency under review. The large drop in funding versus the previous two-year period arose from cuts decided by former U.S. President Donald...

Pfizer and BioNTech launch trial of Omicron-targeted COVID vaccine

NEW YORK, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and BioNTech SE said on Tuesday they started a clinical trial to test a new version of their vaccine specifically designed to target the COVID-19 Omicron variant, which has eluded some of the protection provided by the original two-dose vaccine regimen. Banking on volunteers in the United States,...

Biden threatens Putin with sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine

WASHINGTON/MOSCOW, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Western leaders stepped up preparations for any Russian military action in Ukraine on Tuesday, with talks taking place on protecting energy supplies and President Joe Biden saying he would consider imposing direct sanctions on President Vladimir Putin. Tensions remained high after NATO said on Monday it was putting forces on standby and reinforcing eastern Europe with more ships...

Australia buys copyright to Aboriginal flag, making it free to fly

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The Australian government said on Tuesday it had acquired copyright to the Aboriginal flag so it can be freely used, resolving a commercial dispute that had restricted sporting teams and Aboriginal communities from reproducing the image. The Aboriginal flag has been recognised as an official flag of Australia since 1995, flown from...

Chile to purchase 2 million Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile, which already boasts one of the world’s highest COVID-19 vaccination rates, has agreed to purchase 2 million vaccine doses from Moderna Inc, Chilean interim health minister Maria Teresa Valenzuela said on Monday. Chile has been hailed as a model for its response to the pandemic, relying mainly on vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech,...

Germany extends COVID curbs as infections threaten infrastructure

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany on Monday extended its current pandemic measures as the experts panel appointed by the government has warned the fast spreading Omicron coronavirus variant could bring critical infrastructure in Europe’s biggest economy to a breaking point. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he had agreed with the heads of the federal states to extend...

Three U.S. states, D.C. sue Google over location-tracking

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Texas, Indiana, Washington State and the District of Columbia sued Alphabet Inc’s Google on Monday over what they called deceptive location-tracking practices that invade users’ privacy. “Google falsely led consumers to believe that changing their account and device settings would allow customers to protect their privacy and control what personal data the company...

Canada’s foreign ministry hacked, services hit

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Hackers launched a cyber attack on Canada’s foreign ministry last week and some services are still down, officials said on Monday without disclosing who Ottawa thought was responsible. The incident was detected last Wednesday, a day before Canada’s signals intelligence agency said network operators of critical infrastructure should boost their defenses against...

Aerial surveys detect dozens of methane ‘super-emitters’ in Permian

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Around 30 oil and gas facilities across the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico spewed large amounts of methane for three years, emitting the equivalent annual climate pollution from half a million cars, according to a report released on Monday. The facilities, which include well pads, pipelines, compressor stations and processing facilities,...

Britain says 6,000 more people needed for trial of Merck COVID pill

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Tuesday it needed to recruit 6,000 more people onto a trial of Merck’s COVID-19 antiviral pill molnupiravir to inform how the drug can be rolled out more widely. Britain’s MHRA medicine regulator approved the pill, made by Merck and Ridgeback Therapeutics, in November, and the government launched a national...

WikiLeaks’ Assange gets chance to take extradition case to UK’s top court

LONDON (Reuters) -WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday was given the chance to challenge at Britain’s highest court a decision allowing him to be extradited to the United States to face 18 criminal charges including breaking a spying law. U.S. authorities want Australian-born Assange, 50, currently in jail in London as he awaits a ruling...

Norway scraps coronavirus quarantines

OSLO (Reuters) – Norway will end its system of mandatory COVID-19 quarantines for non-vaccinated travellers and close contacts of infected persons, replacing it instead with a daily test regime, the government announced on Monday. Under the current rules, anyone arriving in Norway from an area with a quarantine obligation and who cannot show proof of...

Peru eyes sanctions over Repsol oil spill, doesn’t rule out production halt

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s Prime Minister Mirtha Vásquez said on Monday the government was looking at sanctioning a major local refinery owned by Spanish energy firm Repsol after an oil spill last week, and did not rule out suspending operations at the facility. Vásquez said some political parties were calling for the government to cancel...

25th January

Brazil’s clearwater Tapajos river polluted by illegal gold mining

BRASILIA (Reuters) – The browning of one of Brazil’s largest clearwater rivers, the Tapajos, is almost certainly due to the mud and sentiments churned up by increasing illegal gold mining, federal prosecutors and environmental activists said on Monday. Once called the “Blue River” because of its pristine condition and clear waters, the Tapajos has drawn...

NASA’s new space telescope reaches destination in solar orbit

(Reuters) – NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, designed to give the world an unprecedented glimpse into the earliest stages of the universe, arrived at its gravitational parking spot in orbit around the sun on Monday, almost 1 million miles from Earth. With a final course-correcting maneuver by on-board rocket thrusters, Webb reached its destination at...

Heavy snow paralyses Greek capital, crews struggling to free stranded drivers

ATHENS (Reuters) -A blanket of heavy snow covered the Greek capital on Monday, from the Acropolis hill to the coast in the south, disrupting air traffic, bringing transport to a halt and leaving scores of drivers stranded overnight in a highway. Rescue crews struggled to free hundreds of drivers whose cars halted for hours on...

Australian business confidence bruised by coronavirus surge

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A measure of Australian business confidence has swung into the red as a surge in coronavirus cases hit consumer spending and played havoc with staffing, though sales overall were proving resilient so far. Tuesday’s survey from National Australia Bank (NAB) showed its index of business confidence slid 24 points to -12 in...

Christian MP goes on trial in Finland for calling homosexuality a disorder

HELSINKI (Reuters) – A Finnish Christian democrat MP and former minister of the interior went on trial on Monday for agitation against gay people over comments in which she described homosexuality as a developmental disorder and a sin. In the unprecedented case over freedom of speech, the Helsinki district court must also decide whether citing...

Britain urges nations to deliver on climate pledges this year

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain called on other nations on Monday to do more to deliver on an agreement struck last year at U.N. climate talks, with COP26 president Alok Sharma saying this year was the “time to honour our promises”. Sharma, the British lawmaker who presided over last year’s climate talks, said he would focus...

European Medicines Agency panel approves scaling up AstraZeneca COVID vaccine production

(Reuters) – A panel of the European drug regulator on Monday approved scaling up manufacturing of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. An existing manufacturing site operated by Universal Farma in Guadalajara, Spain, will add a second filling line for the vaccine, the European Medicines Agency’s human medicines committee said in a statement. The scaling up is expected...

Pope confers lay ministries on women, formalising recognition of roles

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Sunday for the first time conferred the lay Roman Catholic ministries of lector and catechist on women, roles that previously many had carried out without institutional recognition. He conferred the ministries at a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, where, in an apparent reference to resistance to change by...

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