A summary of today's impactful news stories from around the world hand-picked by our staff at TRT World.
*) New street clashes rock Sudan's capital as UN slams coup Sudanese security forces have clashed with protesters furious over a military coup that has derailed Sudan's transition to democracy. At least 11 people have been killed, after a fourth consecutive day of street violence in Khartoum, medics say. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council and US President Joe Biden called for a restoration of the civilian-led government toppled by the army. *) Biden announces $1.75 trillion social spending plan US President Joe Biden has announced a revised $1.75 trillion social spending plan that he is confident Democrats will support, ending weeks of wrangling. Biden's Build Back Better Act will be spent on education, childcare, clean energy and other social services but paid family leave and free two-year college were dropped. The president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had pushed for a vote on the scaled back version of the bill, but progressives say they're not there yet. *) France detains British trawler, fines boats amid deepening fishing row French authorities have fined two British fishing vessels and detained one of them as a dispute over fishing licenses between the countries deepens. The French Sea Ministry said the trawler did not have a fishing licence but Britain's environment minister refuted it, arguing the European Union had granted one. It comes after France announced it would bar British fishing boats from some French ports from next week if no deal is reached with the UK over fishing licenses. *) Houthi missile attack kills over a dozen people in Yemen's Marib At least 12 people have been killed and 20 others wounded in a missile attack carried out by Houthi rebels in Yemen's Marib province. Yemen's Information Minister Muammar al Iryani said that Iranian-made ballistic missiles targeted a civilian settlement in Marib, destroying four homes and a mosque. The attack came as the Saudi-led coalition announced that it killed 95 Houthi rebels in an operation near Marib. And finally… *) Facebook rebrands itself 'Meta' to emphasize ‘metaverse' vision Facebook is rebranding itself as Meta in an effort to encompass its virtual-reality vision for the future, what it's CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls the “metaverse.” Zuckerberg aims for the metaverse to be a new ecosystem where people will be able to interact, work and create products and content. Skeptics say the move could seek to divert attention away from the Facebook Papers, a leaked document trove that shows how the company failed to respond to warnings regarding the harms of its social network.
*) Security tightens grip in coup-hit Sudan as global pressure bites Sudan's security forces have made sweeping arrests of critics and protesters as they seek to stamp out opposition to this week's military coup. Security personnel were seen firing tear gas and rubber bullets at dozens of protesters in Khartoum. The international community has ramped up punitive measures. The World Bank blocked aid and the African Union suspended Sudan over Monday's power grab by the army. *) Israel advances plans for over 3,000 settler homes in occupied West Bank Israel has advanced plans to build more than 3,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank. That's according to a military spokesperson who made the comments a day after the US forcefully criticised such construction. Israel gave the final green light to build 1,800 settler homes in the occupied West Bank and initial approval for another 1,344. *) Several Pakistani police killed by gunfire at rally of banned group Three Pakistani police officers have been killed and 70 people wounded during a rally of the banned group Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan. Officials said that eight of those wounded were in critical condition and paramilitary troops in Punjab province had been called on to help manage the situation for the next 60 days. The clash broke out at a rally of the banned TLP on a highway just outside the eastern city of Lahore, a Punjab police spokesman said. *) Taiwan president confirms US troops training soldiers on island A small number of US forces are training Taiwan's soldiers to increase the island's defence capability. President Tsai Ing-wen's comments to CNN confirm the presence of US troops on the self-governing island that China considers its own. Tensions between Taiwan and China have escalated in recent weeks as Beijing raises military and political pressure. *) Gun not thoroughly checked before Alec Baldwin fired fatal shot Investigators in the US say a .45-caliber Colt revolver used on the set of the film "Rust" was not thoroughly checked before being given to actor Alec Baldwin. Last week, Baldwin fired a live lead bullet in an accidental shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal in New Mexico. Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said there was a complacent attitude toward safety on the set before the shooting.
*) Brazil Senate report backs criminal charges against Bolsonaro A Senate committee has recommended Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro face a series of criminal charges over his government's Covid-19 response. The committee suggested prosecutors put Bolsonaro on trial for charges ranging from inciting crime, to misuse of public funds and crimes against humanity. Brazil has the world's second-highest death toll from the virus. *) Protests grow larger in Sudan Demonstrations against the military takeover of Sudan have brought much of the capital Khartoum to a halt with protesters calling for a return to civilian rule. The ousted prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and his wife are back at home, after being detained at the military chief's residence on Monday. Soldiers detained Hamdok, his ministers and members of Sudan's ruling council, who have been heading a transition to civilian rule after the 2019 overthrow of leader Omar al Bashir. *) Turkish parliament approves cross border operations in northern Iraq, Syria Turkey's parliament has approved a motion that will extend Ankara's authority to launch cross-border military operations in northern Iraq and Syria for two more years. The ruling allows Turkey to deploy troops and expand its missions in Iraq and Syria. Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a "terrorist corridor". *) Colombia says 42,600 hectares deforested in Amazon in first half of 2021 Some 42,600 hectares of rainforest were destroyed in Colombia's Amazon across three of the Andean country's provinces in the first half of 2021. That's according to the government who says the figure represents a 34 percent decrease in deforestation across the provinces of Caqueta, Meta and Guaviare. Deforestation in Colombia rose 8 percent to 171,685 hectares in 2020, driven mainly by cattle ranching and agricultural expansion. And finally… *) Pakistan sink New Zealand in World Cup 'grudge match' Pakistan has beat New Zealand by five wickets in Sharjah to secure a second straight victory in the cricket T20 World Cup tournament. The win came over a month after New Zealand's shock abandonment of their Pakistan tour due to an unspecified "security alert". New Zealand in September ended its tour minutes before the start of the first one-day international in Rawalpindi.
*) Several killed during violent military coup in Sudan Several people were killed during a violent military coup in Sudan while demanding the release of civilian leaders, including the prime minister. Hundreds were also injured as soldiers opened fire on citizens who took to the streets to try and stop the takeover. Sudan's top general declared a state of emergency and also dissolved the government. A move that sparked swift local outrage and international condemnation. *) ASEAN summit gets under way without Myanmar A summit of Southeast Asian leaders got underway without a Myanmar representative, after its junta leader was excluded for failure to follow a regional peace deal. Neither ASEAN's chair Brunei, nor the bloc's secretary-general made a mention of the no-show in opening remarks at the virtual meeting. The ASEAN summit on October 15 excluded the junta chief who ousted a civilian government in February this year. *) Joint statement by 10 Western countries avert crisis with Turkey A diplomatic crisis has been averted after the US and nine other Western countries, including France and Germany, backed down from their joint statement a week ago, demanding the release of a Turkish prisoner. Turkey's President Erdogan cautiously welcomed the move when the US Embassy in Ankara said "it maintains compliance with Article 41 of the Vienna Convention.” Erdogan warned that those who do not respect Turkey's sensitivities and its independence, cannot live in the country. *) Over a dozen worshippers shot dead in Nigeria mosque At least 18 worshippers have been killed by gunmen who attacked a mosque in northern Nigeria during early morning prayers. The attackers, believed to be ethnic Fulani nomadic herders, were able to escape. Nigerian police said the attack was linked to a conflict between villagers and Fulani herders. And finally… *) Japan's Princess gives up her royal title Japanese Princess Mako has given up her royal title by marrying her university sweetheart. The couple wed in a low-key ceremony in Tokyo, following years of controversy over their relationship. The couple are expected to move to the US in the coming weeks to start their new life.
*) Sudan's military arrests civilian government members Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has been placed under house arrest by the military. According to the information ministry, several members of the civilian government have also been arrested. The coup attempt comes days after protests in support of civilian rule replacing a council that took over Sudan after the ouster of Omar al Bashir in 2019. *) Colombia's most-wanted drug trafficker to be extradited to US After more than a decade on the run, Colombia's most-wanted drug trafficker, Dairo Antonio Usuga, has been caught by authorities. The deadly drug lord, also known as "Otoniel", evaded capture by bribing officials and making allies on competing sides. While Otoniel's capture is a win for the world's top cocaine exporting country, the kingpin's absence may fuel more violence through power plays. *) Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband goes on a hunger strike The husband of detained British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has gone on a hunger strike to demand her release. Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been held in Iran since 2016 on spying charges. She recently lost an appeal to her sentence and faces a return to prison. British authorities say they are "doing all they can" to help Nazanin get home. Richard Ratcliffe claims his wife has been imprisoned as leverage for the 550 million dollar debt the UK owes Iran. *) Children are going to die' in Afghanistan, UN agency warns Millions of Afghans, including children, risk death by starvation unless urgent action is taken. World Food Programme's Executive Director David Beasley says 22.8 million Afghans face acute food insecurity and "marching to starvation" compared to 14 million just two months ago. Beasley called for Afghanistan's oversea's assets, frozen after the Taliban takeover in August, to be freed for humanitarian efforts. And finally… *) Vigil for cinematographer accidentally killed on set A vigil has been held for the late cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, who was accidentally shot dead on a film set of "Rust'' last week. US actor Alec Baldwin shot and killed Hutchins with a prop gun which he was told was not loaded. The prop gun also wounded the film's director Joel Souza. An investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed.
*) Pakistan to keep the border open with Afghanistan to support bilateral trade Pakistan will keep its border with Afghanistan open for longer hours to support bilateral trade and the new Taliban-led administration. The country's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi made the announcement after his visit to Kabul where he met several Taliban leaders. Qureshi said Pakistan will provide humanitarian aid worth at least $280 million to Afghanistan. *) Russia reports record 1,064 Covid-19 deaths in the past 24 hours. President Vladimir Putin this week approved a nationwide workplace shutdown in the first week of November, and the capital Moscow will reimpose a partial lockdown from October. *) Turkey could expel 10 Western envoys over remarks on Osman Kavala case Ankara is likely to expel ambassadors from the United States, Germany and eight other Western countries. This group of ambassadors recently made a joint statement and called for the release of jailed Turkish businessman Osman Kavala, which did not go down well with Ankara. The 10 envoys were summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday. *) Late monsoon floods kill more than 150 in India and Nepal More than 180 people have died in flooding across India and Nepal as heavy late monsoon rains triggered flash floods, destroyed crops and infrastructure and left thousands stranded. The north Indian state of Uttarakhand has been especially badly hit, with 88 confirmed deaths, officials say, while at least 99 have died in neighbouring Nepal. Police in Nepal said rescuers were looking for at least 40 people who have been reported as missing, sparking fears that the death toll could rise. *) US Households Trump ally Bannon in contempt, seeks prosecution US lawmakers have voted 229 to 202 to hold ex-president Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress. Bannon is accused of refusing to cooperate with a probe into the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol. The House referral will now move to the Justice Department, which will consider an investigation and charges. *) Actor Alec Baldwin fires prop gun killing woman on film set Actor Alec Baldwin has fired a prop gun on a movie set in New Mexico, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza. The incident occurred on the set of the independent feature film "Rust'', the Santa Fe County Sheriff's office said in a statement. An investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed yet.
*) Drone attack targets US military base in Syria A drone attack has targeted a US military base near Syria's border with Iraq, US officials and a war monitor said. A US official confirmed the attack on Al Tanf military base in Syria's southwestern Rif Dimashq governorate where US forces are deployed. There were no casualties among American forces, the official told Anadolu Agency. *) Russia, China, Iran agree to work with Taliban for 'regional stability' Russia and Central Asia power brokers have agreed to work with the Taliban to promote security in the region. They called on Afghanistan's new leaders to implement "moderate" policies and Moscow said official recognition would only come when the Taliban meets expectations on human rights and inclusive governance. Russia hosted the Taliban for talks in Moscow, seeking to assert its influence in the region and push for action against Daesh fighters in Afghanistan. *) Turkey signs energy, defence deals with Nigeria Turkey and Nigeria have signed multiple bilateral agreements, extending from energy to defence. Nigeria's President Buhari and Turkey's President Erdogan announced the signing of seven deals after a ceremony at the Presidential Palace in the capital Abuja. The two sides signed agreements on defence, energy, mining and hydrocarbon as well as youth and foreign affairs cooperation. *) Ethiopia govt claims strikes hit 'weapons site' in Tigray region At least 9 people have been badly wounded in air strikes that hit Ethiopia's Tigray region. Ethiopia's government said it targeted facilities to make and repair weapons, which a spokesman for the rival Tigray forces denied. Ethiopian authorities said air force jets conducted air strikes on a Tigray rebel military training centre 80 kilometres outside Tigrayan capital Mekele. And finally… *) Trump to launch new social media network 'TRUTH Social' Former US president Donald Trump has announced plans to launch his own social network platform called "TRUTH Social". The platform is expected to beta launch for "invited guests" next month. The platform will be owned by Trump Media & Technology Group, which also intends to launch a video-on-demand service that will feature "non-woke" entertainment programming.
*) Brazil's president accused of homicide in Covid response probe The senator leading a probe into Brazil's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has recommended that President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with homicide over government errors that led to the deaths of thousands. Bolsonaro has dismissed the probe as politically motivated. The document accuses Bolsonaro of turning down early offers to purchase vaccines, delaying Brazil's inoculation drive and costing an estimated 95,000 lives. *) US says Taliban won't get access to Afghan central bank reserves The Taliban will not be allowed to access Afghanistan's central bank reserves, which are largely held in the US. US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told Senate it was "essential to maintain sanctions against the Taliban" but at the same time find ways for humanitarian assistance to get to the Afghan people. The Taliban has called for the US to allow access to more than $9 billion of Afghan central bank reserves as the government struggles to contain a deepening economic crisis. *) At least 46 dead after heavy rains, landslides in northern India At least 46 people have died and several are missing after floods triggered by heavy rains hit northern India. Uttarakhand state has seen incessant rains for the past three days, flooding roads, destroying bridges and causing landslides. India's Met Department says rains are likely to recede in Uttarakhand on Wednesday but warns of heavy downpours in the northeast and south. *) Turkey criticises EU report on its membership process Turkey has criticised a European Commission report on Ankara's EU membership process, saying it once again reflects double standards towards the country. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the report overlooked the EU's responsibilities towards Turkey at a time when Ankara has revived high-level dialogue with the bloc. Turkey also rejected the inclusion of "inconsistent and biased" Greek and Greek Cypriot arguments in the report. The EU report said Ankara's bid to join the bloc had "come to a standstill". And finally… *) Facebook plans to change its name Social media giant Facebook Inc is planning to rebrand the company with a new name that focuses on the metaverse. The name change will be announced next week, The Verge reported, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter. Facebook did not immediately respond to the report.
*) Deadly clashes erupt during Lebanon protest Gunfire has killed at least six people and wounded 30 at a Beirut rally organised by Shia Hezbollah and Amal movements. That's according to Lebanon's interior minister who said the "exchange started with sniper fire, with the first casualty shot to the head". Demonstrators were calling for the removal of a popular judge, who's leading the investigation into last year's port explosion that killed more than 200 people. *) Turkey reiterates importance of inclusive government in Afghanistan Turkey has reiterated the importance of government inclusiveness for Afghanistan's unity, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. This comes following a meeting in Ankara with a high-level delegation from Afghanistan's acting Taliban government. Ankara encouraged other countries to engage with the Taliban who ousted Afghanistan's government in August, saying "engaging was not the same as recognising". *) WHO: Only one in 7 Covid-19 cases in Africa being detected Only one in seven Covid-19 infections in Africa are detected, meaning an estimated 59 million people may be infected in the continent, the World Health Organization says. “With limited testing, we're still flying blind in far too many communities in Africa,” said Matshidiso Moeti, regional director for the WHO. The UN plans to increase rapid diagnostic testing in eight African countries with the goal of testing 7 million people in the next year. *) At least 46 people killed in Taiwan building fire At least 46 people were killed and dozens more injured in a massive fire in a 13-storey building in southern Taiwan. Officials say the "extremely fierce" blaze was hard to control and destroyed several floors. An investigation is under way and officials set up an independent commission to investigate the conditions at the run-down building which was home to many poor, older and disabled people. And finally… *) Adele makes music comeback with new single British vocal powerhouse Adele made her highly-anticipated music comeback, releasing her first new record since her 2015 Grammy award-winning album "25". The 33-year-old, known for her ballads about break-ups and regrets, teased new single "Easy On Me" last week with a short video clip. The song is the first to be released from her upcoming fourth album "30", out in November.
*) Israel and UAE ministers meet in US We begin in the US where Secretary of State Antony Blinken held three-way talks with his Israeli and the United Arab Emirates counterparts. The trio discussed the progress made since the signing of last year's Abraham Accords and relations with Iran. Blinken says Iran's responses to US willingness to return to nuclear talks have not been “encouraging” despite "time running short" for Tehran. *) Turkish intelligence thwarts attempt to abduct Iranian soldier Turkey's National Intelligence Organization and police have busted an Iranian espionage network in eastern Turkey. An Iranian and a Turk were detained on charges of spying and are accused of plotting to kidnap and forcibly repatriate a former Iranian military official. The eight-member network that included two Iranian agents were caught in a joint operation on September 24, security sources said. *) Five killed in Norway bow-and-arrow attack In Norway, at least five people were killed in a bow-and-arrow attack in the town of Kongsberg. The Kongsberg police chief said there was "a confrontation" between officers and the assailant, a 37-year-old Danish suspect, but he did not elaborate. The motive for the attack is not yet known but police say they haven't ruled out terrorism. *) Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel begin hunger strike At least 250 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel have begun a hunger strike to protest their relocation to isolation, officials said. The hunger strike, led by the Islamic Jihad group, comes amid heightened tensions in Israeli detention facilities following the escape of six prisoners from a high-security prison. All six were recaptured within a couple of weeks, but the escape embarrassed Israeli authorities and was hailed as a stroke of defiance by Palestinians. And finally… *) Star Trek's Shatner becomes world's oldest space traveler Beam me up Bezos! 90-year-old actor William Shatner has officially become the oldest person ever to fly to space on a rocket. The launch took place in Texas aboard Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' 'Blue Origin' ship and saw Shatner and three others cross briefly over the official boundary of space. "It was unbelievable," said Shatner, known to Star Trek fans as the daring Captain James Tiberius Kirk, a role he first played more than half a century ago.
TRT World's Daily News Brief for Friday, October 8th. *) Taliban warn against isolating Afghanistan The Taliban has warned against isolating Afghanistan, saying that similar policies failed in the past and “no one” wants that to repeat. The Taliban's UN nominee said the group is ready to engage with the international community and resolve issues through talks. The UN has warned of a looming “humanitarian catastrophe” as the country requires urgent funding to meet basic needs after the Taliban takeover. *) Greece ratifies controversial defence deal with France Greek lawmakers have ratified a defence deal with France that includes a "mutual assistance clause" in case of an armed attack against either. The five-year agreement was announced in Paris last week by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and French President Emmanuel Macron. The pact seems to overlook the idea of collective defence which is a principal tenet of NATO, of which both Greece and France are members. *) US official says special forces quietly training Taiwanese troops US special operations forces have been quietly training Taiwanese troops for months, risking the ire of China. A contingent of around 20 special operations and conventional forces has been conducting training for less than a year, a Pentagon official, who declined to be identified, said. The official largely confirmed a Wall Street Journal report which said the training has been going on for at least a year, amid China's rising verbal threats against the US ally. *) Israel judge's approval of 'quiet' Jewish prayer at Al Aqsa stirs outrage An Israeli judge's conclusion this week that "quiet" Jewish prayer should be allowed at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque compound has stirred outrage. The Waqf Islamic Affairs Council called the ruling by Jerusalem Magistrates' Court judge Bilhha Yahalom an illegitimate "provocation”. Even Israeli police have appealed the decision, which came in response to a petition by rabbi Aryeh Lippo, who last month was slapped with a two-week ban from the plaza after praying there. And finally… *) Tanzanian-born novelist Gurnah wins Nobel Literature Prize Tanzanian-born novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah has won the Nobel Literature Prize for his portrayal of the effects of colonialism and the trauma of the refugee experience. Gurnah, who grew up on the island of Zanzibar but arrived in England as a refugee in the 1960s to escape the revolution, is the fifth African to win the coveted prize. "I am absolutely overwhelmed and proud. It was completely unexpected," Gurnah said.
TRT World's Daily News Brief for Thursday, October 7th: *) UN warns that Afghanistan's economy is on the verge of collapse Afghanistan's health system is failing and the economy is on the brink of collapse, the country's director for the World Food Progamme has warned. Mary-Ellen McGroarty said donor pledges and commitments “must urgently be turned into reality” before it is too late. Nearly half the population, more than 18 million people, require aid assistance to survive, while conflict and insecurity have displaced more than 3.5 million, with nearly 700,000 uprooted this year alone, UN figures say. In mid-August, the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in parallel with a US troop withdrawal from the country. *) Earthquake in southern Pakistan kills more than a dozen people A magnitude 5.7 quake strikes Pakistan's southern Balochistan province, killing at least 20 people and wounding 200 others, officials say, warning death toll could rise. The worst-affected area has been the remote mountainous city of Harnai, where a lack of paved roads and electricity has hampered the rescue effort. Pakistan straddles the boundary where the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, making the country susceptible to earthquakes. *) Probe finds refugees face illegal pushback at Greece, Croatia borders Migrants and refugees are suffering sometimes violent illegal pushback carried out by special police units at the EU's borders, especially Greece and Croatia, says Germany's Der Spiegel. Videos of 11 pushbacks described by Der Spiegel allegedly show men beating refugees before bringing them back across the border into Bosnia-Herzegovina. "Asylum-seekers' testimony is piling up in Greece, Romania, and Croatia, gathered by aid groups, lawyers, and journalists," the paper added. *) Armed bandits kill more than a dozen in northwest Nigeria Armed men have killed at least 18 people and set ablaze cars and shops in Nigeria's Zamfara state, two residents have said. The attack comes as the government imposed a telecoms blackout as part of a security operation against groups of kidnappers. Northwest Nigeria has been engulfed in crisis since late 2020 when groups of armed men began a spate of mass abductions from schools and other violent attacks on villages. And finally… *) Daniel Craig gets Hollywood Walk of Fame star next to former James Bond Roger Moore Daniel Craig finally has got a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, days before his last movie as James Bond opens in the United States. The actor's pink and terrazzo star has been placed next to that of the late Roger Moore, who played Bond in seven movies from 1973 to 1985. "It's an absolute honour to be walked all over in Hollywood," said Craig.
TRT World's Daily News Brief for Wednesday, October 6th: *) British PM's envoy meets Taliban in Afghanistan British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's special envoy met Taliban leaders in Afghanistan to discuss the humanitarian crisis and battling terrorism. Simon Gass, Johnson's high representative for Afghanistan, met Taliban leaders including Amir Khan Muttaqi and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Foreign Office said. The Taliban have been courting foreign powers to help restart cash flows to the country, where civil servants and healthcare workers have not been paid for months. *) 330,000 children victims of church sex abuse in France Victims of abuse within France's Catholic Church welcomed a historic turning point after a new report estimated that 330,000 children were sexually abused over the past 70 years. The figure includes abuses committed by some 3,000 priests and an unknown number of other people involved in the church according to the report. The study's authors estimate 80 percent of the church's victims were boys, while the broader study of sexual abuse found that 75 percent of the overall victims were girls. *) Whistleblower urges regulation to tackle Facebook 'crisis' A Facebook whistleblower told US lawmakers that the social media giant fuels division, harms children and urgently needs to be regulated. Frances Haugen, testifying to the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, accused the company of failing to make changes to Instagram after internal research showed apparent harm to some teens. Haugen's accusations were buttressed by tens of thousands of pages of internal research documents she secretly copied before leaving her job. *) Third tanker carrying Iranian fuel to Lebanon reaches Syria A third tanker carrying Iranian fuel for distribution in Lebanon has reached the Syrian port city of Baniyas, TankerTrackers.com reported on Twitter. The Iran-aligned Hezbollah movement says the imports should ease a crippling energy crisis in Lebanon. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said last month the Iranian fuel shipments constitute a breach of Lebanon's sovereignty. And finally… *) Ancient Indonesian woman reshapes views on spread of early humans Genetic traces in the body of a young woman who died 7,000 years ago indicate that mixing between early humans in Indonesia and those from faraway Siberia took place much earlier than previously thought. Theories about early human migration in Asia could be transformed by the research published in the scientific journal Nature in August, after analysis of the DNA of the woman who was given a ritual burial in an Indonesian cave. Scientists have until recently thought North Asian people such as the Denisovans only arrived in Southeast Asia about 3,500 years ago.
*) US resumes Afghan refugee flights after measles shots Afghan refugees will soon be arriving again in the US after a massive campaign to vaccinate them against measles. The measles outbreak, detected in 24 people, caused a three-week pause in evacuations. Authorities have administered the vaccination to about 49,000 evacuees staying temporarily on American military bases and also others at transit points. *) French clergy molested '216,000 victims' in 70 years A report on sex abuse by Roman Catholic clergymen in France is set to say there have been an estimated 216,000 victims since 1950, a survivor who contributed to the dossier has said ahead of its publication. An independent commission spent more than 2-1/2 years investigating sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in the country over the past seven decades. In the run-up to the release of its findings, Commission head Jean-Marc Sauve said about 3,000 paedophile priests and clerics abused minors over the period. *) Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp back online after massive outage Facebook and its Instagram and WhatsApp services have returned online after a massive and lengthy outage that added to the social network's woes. Facebook cited faulty configuration changes on its routers as the root cause of the nearly six-hour outage. Security experts said the disruption could be the result of an internal mistake, though sabotage by an insider would be theoretically possible. *) 'Pandora Papers' bring renewed calls for tax haven scrutiny Calls grow for an end to the financial secrecy that has allowed many of the world's richest and most powerful people to hide their wealth from tax collectors. The outcry came after a report revealed the way that world leaders, billionaires and others have used shell companies and offshore accounts to keep trillions of dollars out of government treasuries over the past quarter-century. The investigation, dubbed the Pandora Papers, was published on Sunday and involved 600 journalists from 150 media outlets in 117 countries. And finally… *) Global heating kills 14% of world's corals in decade Global heating and also dynamite fishing and pollution have wiped out 14 percent of the world's coral reefs from 2009 to 2018, according to the largest ever survey of coral health. The hardest hit were corals in South Asia and the Pacific, around the Arabian Peninsula, and off the coast of Australia, the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network reported. The value of goods and services from coral reefs is about $2.7 trillion per year, including $36 billion in tourism, the report said.
*) Blast targets memorial service at Kabul mosque We begin in Afghanistan's capital Kabul where a fatal attack rocked the city's second-largest mosque during a funeral. At least five people lost their lives at the Eid Gah Mosque where a memorial service was being held for the mother of a Taliban spokesman. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban government blames Daesh. *) North and South restore inter-Korea hotline Seoul's Unification Ministry said that officials from North and South Korea have exchanged messages over a cross-border communication channel. The hotline was restored on Monday after Pyongyang severed it in early August in protest against Seoul's joint military drill with the US. Cross-border communication is expected to improve relations between the two rivals, despite the end of conflict in the early 1950's. *) ‘Pandora Papers' expose hidden assets of politicians, govts, celebs The largest international collaboration of journalists has produced a report called “The Pandora Papers”, based on an immense collection of leaked offshore data. Some of the leaked documents have revealed the secret wealth of politicians and billionaires around the world. Around 35 world leaders are named in the documents, including more than 300 public officials like judges, mayors, and generals in more than 90 countries. *) Inquiry finds thousands of peadophiles operates in French churhes A new research by the Catholic church in France has revealed more than 3,000 pedophiles have been operating in French churches since 1950. The commission investigating the scandal is set to officially release its report in the next few days, after taking around two years to finalise. The report attempted to quantify the number of offenders and victims, and also looked into institutional and cultural issues within the church which allowed pedophiles to work in the system. And finally… *) Banksy's famous balloon girl piece goes on auction A version of British graffiti artist Banksy's famous “Girl and Balloon” artwork by Christie's, as the highlight of the London auction house's upcoming sale. The two-part or diptych canvas depicts a small child letting go of a heart-shaped red balloon and was painted by the elusive wall dauber in 2005. It is expected to fetch up to 4.7 million dollars when it goes on sale on October 15.
*) US Democrats block Republican bid to cut benefits for Afghan refugees The US Senate has narrowly defeated Republican-backed legislation that would have curtailed assistance for thousands of Afghans evacuated last month. The voting underscores the deep divide over how the country should deal with a flood of Afghans desperate for new homes after the US withdrawal from their homeland. President Joe Biden's withdrawal order has ended the longest war in US history which led to Kabul's fall to the Taliban and an outflow of refugees to several countries. *) Israel's foreign minister opens embassy on landmark visit to Bahrain Israel's top diplomat Yair Lapid has begun a landmark visit to Bahrain where he opened the Israeli embassy one year after the US-brokered normalisation of ties. Lapid met with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, in what Israeli media said was the first public meeting of a Gulf monarch with an Israeli official. The UAE, Bahrain and Morocco became the first Arab states in decades to normalise relations with Israel last year, following negotiations spearheaded by former US president Trump. *) North Korea fires newly developed anti-aircraft missile in latest test North Korea says it has successfully fired a new anti-aircraft missile, the latest in a flurry of weapons tests by the nuclear-armed nation. The new test comes even as Pyongyang pushes to reopen dormant communication channels with South Korea in a small reconciliation step. Pyongyang is under multiple international sanctions over its weapons programmes, which have made rapid progress under Kim Jong-un. *) Ethiopia expels seven senior UN staff for 'meddling' Ethiopia says it would expel seven senior UN officials for what it called "meddling in the internal affairs of the country.” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said he was "shocked" by the decision and expressed full confidence in his staff in Ethiopia. Ethiopia's northernmost Tigray region has been mired in conflict since November, when Abiy sent troops to topple the regional ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front. And finally… *) A collection of artwork by Muhammad Ali heads to auction A rare collection of sketches and paintings by American boxer Muhammad Ali is going up for auction in New York next week. The 24-piece collection reflects Ali's interest in religion and social justice, but there are also some that picture him in the ring. The former world heavyweight champion died in 2016 at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.
*) Republicans attack Biden over Afghan pullout Republican lawmakers tried to pick apart President Joe Biden's defense of his withdrawal from Afghanistan during a second day of Congressional hearings with Pentagon leaders. Republicans have accused him of lying about military commanders' recommendations to keep 2,500 troops in the country and playing down warnings of the risks of a Taliban victory. They said Biden exaggerated America's ability to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a safe haven for militant groups like al Qaeda. *) More than 100 dead in Ecuador's latest prison violence Clashes between rival gangs in an Ecuador prison have killed at least 116 inmates and injured nearly 80 others. Violence occurred during the night at the Guayaquil prison complex. Wednesday's violence was the latest in a series of bloody prison clashes that have claimed the lives of nearly 200 inmates in the country so far this year. *) Israeli settlers attack Palestinian village, wound toddler Dozens of Israeli settlers have attacked a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank, leaving several people wounded, including a Palestinian toddler. Video of Tuesday's attack released by an Israeli rights group showed several settlers hurling stones at a cluster of homes and vehicles. Israeli troops stood among the settlers but did not appear to be taking any action to stop them as Israeli police described it as a “friction incident.” *) N. Korea's Kim condemns US dialogue offer as 'facade' North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has condemned a US offer of dialogue as a "facade" and accused the Biden administration of continuing a hostile policy against his country. Talks between Pyongyang and Washington have been effectively at a standstill since the collapse of the HA NOY summit between Kim and then-president Donald Trump over sanctions relief. Under Biden, the US has repeatedly offered to meet North Korean representatives while saying it will pursue denuclearisation. And finally… *) Judge suspends Britney Spears' father from conservatorship Singer Britney Spears has been freed from her father and she could be freed entirely from court control within weeks. Jamie Spears was suspended with immediate effect and replaced with a temporary conservator "in the best interests" of the singer, said Judge Brenda Penny, calling the present arrangement "untenable." Spears' father has controlled her life for the past 13 years, under a legal arrangement the 39-year-old US singer has slammed as "abusive."
*) Top generals say they advised keeping troops in Afghanistan Top US generals have said that they recommended keeping several thousand troops in Afghanistan, contradicting President Joe Biden. In August, Biden said in an interview with ABC News that no military leader advised him to leave a small troop presence in Afghanistan. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said the withdrawal was a "strategic defeat" that left the Taliban back in power. *) North Korea says it test-fired new hypersonic missile North Korea has successfully tested a new hypersonic gliding missile, the state media reported on Wednesday. The missile was fired towards the sea off its east coast as Pyongyang called on the US and South Korea to scrap their "double standards" on weapons programmes to restart diplomatic talks. The KCNA said the development of the weapon system increases North Korea's defence capabilities, describing the hypersonic missile as a "strategic weapon". *) WHO chief sorry for sex abuse by Ebola workers in DR Congo WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has apologised after a damning report on allegations of rape and sexual abuse by workers sent to fight Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The report centred on accusations against local and international personnel deployed in the country to fight an Ebola outbreak from 2018 to 2020. Tedros said two senior staff members have already been placed on administrative leave. *) Kishida to become Japan's next PM after party vote Former foreign minister Fumio Kishida has won a race to lead Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party. He defeated popular vaccine chief Taro Kono in an unusually close race to succeed Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Suga had decided to step down after just a year in office. And finally… *) Royals join cast of new Bond film for glitzy London premiere Britain's royals joined Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux and the cast of "No Time to Die" on the red carpet for the new Bond film's world premiere. The film, the 25th in the long-running series and Craig's last outing as 007, was initially due to be released in April 2020. But the release of the movie was delayed multiple times due to the coronavirus pandemic.
*) North Korea 'fires suspected ballistic missile' into the sea North Korea has fired at least one projectile into the Sea of Japan. That's according to officials in South Korea and Tokyo, who suspect the unidentified projectile may have been a ballistic missile. The launch comes less than two weeks after North Korea tested a new railway-borne missile system. North Korea has defended the move saying no one can deny it the right to self defence and weapons testing. Pyongyang is also calling on the US to give up what it calls a "hostile policy" towards North Korea. Washington has condemned the test. *) SPD seeks alliance with Greens, Liberals for three-way coalition Germany's Social Democratic Party fought hard to win Sunday's elections, but it will be just as tough forging a coalition. The party's leader, Olaf Scholz, has the best shot of becoming the new chancellor, and he's got big shoes to fill. Angela Merkel was one of the world's highest-profile political leaders during her 16 years in office. And she'll stay in the top job until a deal is done. The negotiations will be a complicated process. *) Botched Nigeria air strike kills many fishermen – report At least 20 fishermen have been killed accidently after Nigeria's military targeted a militant camp in the country's northeast, according to two security sources and locals. A Nigerian fighter jet early on Sunday bombarded Kwatar Daban Masara in Lake Chad, which straddles Nigeria and neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, the sources said on Monday. The area is a bastion for the Daesh-affiliated Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). The reports of casualties came less than two weeks after officials said another airstrike on a village killed nine civilians in Nigeria's northeast. *) Israel 'won't allow' nukes to Iran; Tehran says Israel has hundreds of them Israel's Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, has addressed the UN General Assembly Monday, saying Iran has progressed too far in its nuclear program. Bennett accused Tehran of seeking to dominate the Middle East under a 'nuclear umbrella'. "Iran-phobia runs rampant at the UN," Iran's UN Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi posted on Twitter. Israel "is in no position to discuss our peaceful program when it has hundreds of nuclear warheads," he said, referring to Israel's widely believed status as the Middle East's sole nuclear-armed state. And finally… *)Disgraced singer R. Kelly convicted in sex trafficking trial A federal jury in New York has convicted American R&B artist, R Kelly, of racketeering and sex trafficking. The charges against him also include sexual exploitation of a child, bribery and kidnapping. The verdict comes 13 years after Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges at an Illinois state trial. The musician will be sentenced on May 4th, and is said to be facing decades behind bars.
*) Social Democrats beat Merkel bloc in German vote Germany's centre-left Social Democrats have narrowly won the general election, beating Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives. Election officials said early Monday that a count of all 299 constituencies showed the Social Democrats won 25.9 percent of the vote with the Union bloc carrying 24.1 percent. The environmentalist Greens came third with 14.8 percent followed by pro-business Free Democrats with 11.5 percent, making both parties potential kingmakers. *) Israeli troops kill 5 Palestinians in occupied West Bank raids Israeli troops conducted a series of raids in the occupied West Bank, killing five Palestinians. The night raids were carried out in five different regions on Sunday, including the village of Beyt Anan near Ramallah and in towns of Jenin, local media reported. Israel claimed that the wave of arrests targeted a Hamas cell that Israeli security forces had been following for several days. *) Taliban asks airlines to resume international flights to Afghanistan The Taliban in Afghanistan has appealed for international flights to be resumed, promising full cooperation with airlines. The statement comes as the interim regime continues efforts to gain international acceptance. The Taliban officials said the suspension has left many Afghans stranded abroad and is also preventing people from travelling. *) Mass protest as Tunisia political crisis escalates Hundreds of people took to the streets of Tunisia's capital to protest President Kais Saied's recent decrees bolstering the already near-total power he granted himself two months ago. This includes the continuing suspension of Parliament's powers as well as ending lawmakers' immunity from prosecution. In July, Saied assumed executive authority in a move widely seen as a coup. And finally… *) 'Moulin Rouge!' wins big as Tony Awards return to Broadway Broadway has finally honoured its best and brightest at the Tonys, with jukebox musical "Moulin Rouge!" bagging 10 trophies. "Moulin Rouge!" won for best musical, best actor and best actor in a featured role, as well as a host of technical honours. The last Tony Awards ceremony was held in 2019. The virus forced Broadway theatres to abruptly close on March 12, 2020, knocking out all shows.
*) Day 3 of UNGA: Leaders highlight disparity in Covid vaccine availability The Covid-19 vaccine distribution inequity has come into sharper focus as many leaders of African countries spoke at the UN General Assembly. South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa urged member states to support a temporary trade waiver to allow more countries to produce Covid-19 vaccines. Other African leaders said it was "appalling" that while rich countries debate booster shot doses, many poor countries have only been able to vaccine 1 or 2 percent of their populations. Namibia's President Hage Geingob called the situation a "vaccine apartheid.” *) Blinken sees unity on Taliban after meeting with Pakistan, China US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said he believes the world was united on pressing the Taliban after speaking with Pakistan, China and Russia. Blinken met with his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi Thursday, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. He also held talks with ministers of the four other veto-wielding Security Council members, including China and Russia. *) Erdogan: US not 'acting honestly' with Turkey, ties at low point Turkey's President Erdogan says the trajectory of ties with the US do not bode well and that Washington needs to "sort out" issues over Ankara's purchase of S-400 defence systems. Relations between the two NATO allies struck a low point earlier this year when Washington sanctioned Turkey's defence industry. According to broadcaster Haberturk, Erdogan said the two countries should work together as friends but he and US President Joe Biden had "not gotten off to a good start". *) Catalan separatist leader Puigdemont arrested in Italy Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has been arrested in Italy. Puidgemont was accused of sedition after he helped organise a 2017 independence referendum, which Spanish courts ruled illegal. He has since been living in self-imposed exile in Belgium, where he holds a seat in the European parliament. But the EU body voted to strip him of his immunity back in March. *) Emporio Armani celebrates 40 years Giorgio Armani has celebrated 40 years of his Emporio Armani line with a retrospective show at his Silos museum during Milan Fashion Week. The preview for next spring and summer featured both menswear and womenswear, opening with denim suits in dark tones for her and in patchwork for him. The brand also presented a new collection for youthful colourful dressers.
*) Taliban's new UN envoy urges quick world recognition of Afghan rulers The Taliban's newly appointed envoy to the United Nations has urged quick world recognition of Afghanistan's new rulers. Earlier, the Taliban wrote to the UN requesting its new UN representative, Suhail Shaheen, be allowed to address the General Assembly currently underway in New York. Meanwhile, attackers have struck Taliban vehicles in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least two fighters and three civilians in the latest violence since the group's takeover of the country in mid-August. *) Ukraine president aide targeted in 'assassination attempt' Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that an assassination attempt was made against him after his aide's car came under heavy gunfire. The aide, Serhiy Shefir, survived unscathed but police said his driver had been wounded after more than 10 bullets hit the car near a village, just outside the capital Kiev. In a recorded message from New York, where Zelenskyy joined the UN Assembly, he called the shooting a show of "weakness." *) US donating 'historic' extra 500 million Covidvaccines US President Joe Biden has promised to donate a "historic" extra 500 million vaccines to countries struggling to overcome the pandemic. The pledge at a Covid-19summit of world leaders, held virtually from the White House, brings the total US commitment of donated vaccines to 1.1 billion — more than the rest of the world combined. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has approved booster shots of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine for senior citizens and others at high risk from the virus. *) WHO blames air pollution for 7 million premature deaths a year The World Health Organisation has strengthened its air quality guidelines, saying air pollution was now one of the biggest environmental threats to human health. It said that air pollution causes seven million premature deaths a year, ranking its burden of disease on par with smoking and unhealthy eating. The WHO's new guidelines recommend air quality levels for six pollutants, including ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and carbon monoxide. *) Somalia screens first film in three decades Somalia is due to host its first screening of a movie in three decades under heavy security. The National Theatre of Somalia's history reflects the tumultuous journey of the conflict-ravaged country, having been targeted by suicide bombers and used as a base by warlords. The stage was set for the evening screening of two short films by Somali director Ibrahim CM, "Hoos" and "Date from Hell". It had never before screened a Somali film.
*) Joe Biden promises 'relentless diplomacy,' not Cold War US President Joe Biden in his address to the UN General Assembly has pledged American cooperation through what he called a decisive decade for the planet. Biden promised to increase climate financing for developing countries. He also said his administration is moving away from the 'America First' foreign policy, and to an era where military might not be chosen over diplomacy. *) Erdogan emphasises establishing a fair world order Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in his speech to the UN General Assembly, focused on security issues, the refugee situation and the climate crisis. Erdogan also spoke about the coronavirus pandemic, saying the response over vaccines for poorer countries was a disgrace. He suggested a shift in the current international hierarchy would help address many challenges. *) UN agencies say expulsions may violate international law The United Nations says the way US authorities have been handling Haitians at the Texas-Mexico border may violate international law, and constitutes forced returns. Hundreds of Haitians have been deported to Haiti since Sunday, and thousands more have been detained. They were among around 12,000 asylum-seekers camped out under a bridge that connects the US and Mexico. There's been bipartisan criticism of the Biden administration, after images on social media showed border guards on horseback using reins as whips. *) Magnitude 6.0 earthquake strikes Melbourne A magnitude 6.0 earthquake has struck southeastern Australia. People ran into the streets of Melbourne, the second largest city, after the tremor shook buildings there. Video posted to social media shows buildings that were damaged. Melbourne's Seismology Centre says the earthquake lasted about 20 seconds. And finally... *) Juventus investigates fans who racially abused AC Milan's Mike Maignan AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan blasted those who racially abused him before his team's 1-1 draw with Juventus at the weekend. Juventus confirmed that they had launched an investigation into the abuse, caught on a video which spread quickly on social media. It showed an off-camera fan launching a stream of racist insults at the France international while he warmed up ahead of Sunday's match at Allianz Stadium.
*) Trudeau's Liberals win polls Canada's ruling Liberal Party led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to form the next government, according to state media projections. Trudeau's Liberals are projected to win most seats but it's still unclear if they will have a majority in parliament. Polls show the Liberals leading in over 150 electoral districts with only a small fraction of votes counted. The party needs to win 170 seats to hold a majority. *) President Erdogan vows to increase trade volume with US President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he hopes trade between Turkey and the US will increase five-fold. It's currently at around 20-billion-dollars a year. Erdogan was speaking on Monday at the 11th Turkey Investment Conference in New York. Earlier, he met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the newly-opened Turkevi Center. *) Biden meets Guterres ahead of his first UN speech as president President Joe Biden met with the UN chief, ahead of his first speech at the General Assembly. Biden has emphasised the importance of a strong partnership with the UN, saying no country can solve global problems alone. And while there's been a lot of focus on the US's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden is expected to use his speech to try to move onto issues where he has more control. *) Rwandan court finds 'Hotel Rwanda' hero guilty on terror charges A Rwandan court has sentenced 'Hotel Rwanda film Hero' to 25 years in prison. Judges found Paul Rusesabagina guilty on terror related charges. Rusesabagina has been accused of 13 charges, nine of them terrorism-related including funding a rebel group. Last year, Rusesabagina admitted he had formed an armed group but denied any involvement in its subsequent actions. And finally... *) Volcano destroys homes, roads, businesses on Spanish island At least 100 homes on a Spanish island have been destroyed by lava, flowing from a volcano. The lava is currently on route to the sea. Authorities say more than 5,000 people have been evacuated from La Palma island so far. No fatalities have been reported, but there are fears a cloud of toxic gas could form above the region once the lava reaches the sea. Officials warn the volcano could remain active for the next few days.
*) US says Kabul drone strike killed 10 civilians, including children A US drone strike in Kabul last month killed as many as 10 civilians, including seven children, the US military has admitted, apologising for what it called a “tragic mistake”. The Pentagon had said the August 29 strike targeted a Daesh suicide bomber who posed an imminent threat to US-led troops at Kabul airport. Emal Ahmadi, a survivor whose 10 family members were killed in the strike, has demanded those responsible be punished, saying Washington's apology was not enough. *) French and UK defence ministers' meeting cancelled amid sub row France has pulled out from a defence meeting with the UK as the rift deepens over a new security deal between the kingdom, US and Australia. The two-day talks have been postponed from this week to a later date – that's according to a former British Ambassador. France is frustrated over Australia signing the so-called Aukus deal with the US and UK, which will get Canberra nuclear-powered submarines. This resulted in Australia cancelling a major weapons contract with Paris. *) Early results show Putin party wins majority in the vote President Vladimir Putin's party is on track to win a strong majority in a three-day parliamentary election, following a harsh crackdown on the opposition. Most opposition politicians were barred from running as they were linked to jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny. Allies of Navalny planned to use an app to help voters find candidates to defeat United Russia but the app was removed by Apple and Google on election day. *) Lebanon's parliament is to vote on Mikati government The Lebanese Parliament is voting on the Mikati government and will be discussing its draft programme and plans. New Prime Minister Najib Mikati's government was formed on September 10th after a year of political deadlock that exacerbated a crippling economic crisis. Mikati's government is already facing challenges, with Lebanon's Hezbollah unilaterally importing Iranian fuel at risk of international sanctions. And finally... *) 'The Crown' wins Emmy for best drama series The Crown has won the best drama series at the Emmys, while Apple TV+'s “Ted Lasso” took best comedy series honours. “The Crown” stars Olivia Colman and Josh O'Connor also won top drama acting honours, with Jason Sudeikis, star of “Ted Lasso" a winner on the comedy side. This year's show was far from last year's Pandemmys that were shot from home, with guests in masks and plenty of hugs and kisses going around – but after presenting vaccine certificates.
*) HRW reports 'war crimes' attacks on Eritrean refugees in Tigray Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia's Tigray have suffered abuses ranging from executions to rape in what amount to "clear war crimes", Human Rights Watch says. The rights watchdog says the Tigrayans distrusted them as they were the same nationality as occupying Eritrean soldiers, who in turn doubted the refugees' loyalty. HRW said it had received credible reports that Eritrean troops killed 31 people in Hitsats, one of the two camps in Tigray where abuses were documented. *) Google, Apple remove Navalny app from stores as Russian elections begin Google and Apple have removed jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny's tactical voting app from their stores, after Russia accused the tech giants of interference. Russians are voting to elect a new parliament in a three-day vote starting on Friday. The ruling United Russia party is expected to win despite a rating slump after the biggest crackdown on the Kremlin's critics in years. Allies of Navalny, President Putin's fiercest opponent, planned to use the app to help voters find and support candidates to deal a blow to United Russia. *) US defends nuclear sub deal with Australia The US has defended its decision to share nuclear-powered submarine technology with Australia, rejecting criticism from both China and France. China claims the new alliance, referred to as Aukus, damages regional stability, and jeopardises efforts to halt nuclear weapon proliferation. But White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said the agreement is not aimed at China, although the US has mounting concerns about Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region. *) Austria hears first lawsuit over virus outbreak in ski resort The first civil lawsuit begins in a court in Vienna over a notorious outbreak of Covid-19 at the ski resort of Ischgl in March 2020, where thousands of people from 45 countries became infected. The case is the first of 15 lawsuits filed by plaintiffs from Austria and Germany, accusing authorities of not responding quickly enough to Covid-19 outbreaks in Austrian resorts. It is being brought on behalf of the family of a 72-year-old who died after contracting the virus in Ischgl. *) New Van Gogh drawing discovered, set to go on display A Vincent van Gogh drawing that has been hidden in a private collection for more than a century has gone on display for the first time at an Amsterdam museum. The work titled "Study for 'Worn Out" depicts an old man sitting in a chair and was sketched by Van Gogh in November 1882 when he was just starting his career. The owners of the drawing, a Dutch family which bought it in around 1910, asked the Van Gogh museum to authenticate it and experts confirmed that it was indeed a "new work" by Van Gogh.
*) Taliban denies reports of leadership row over make-up of govt In Afghanistan, there have been reports of a row between Taliban leaders over the make-up of the new government. Senior Taliban officials have told British media that two rival parties allegedly fought at the presidential palace, but the Taliban has officially denied this. The group seized control of Afghanistan last month, and their new interim cabinet is made up of senior Taliban figures. *) US, UK and Australia announce national security initiative Leaders of the UK, Australia and the US have announced a trilateral security partnership that will allow for greater sharing of defence capabilities. As part of the landmark security pact - dubbed AUKUS - Washington has agreed to help Australia acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. While the leaders made no direct mention of China, the initiative is seen as a strategic move at countering a more assertive Beijing. US President Joe Biden says AUKUS will strengthen stability in the Indo-Pacific. *) Turkish, Azerbaijani air forces hold joint military exercise Turkey and Azerbaijan have held joint military exercises in the Turkish city of Konya, as Ankara says it will continue to support its allies. Eight combat aircraft, air defence systems and a large number of military personnel took part in the event called 'TURAZ Hawk 2021'. National defense ministers of both countries have joined the military drill. Turkey supported Azerbaijan in its war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh last year. Azerbaijan liberated several cities and villages from the nearly three-decade occupation. The Turkish defense minister has said Turkey will continue to support its allies. *) Both North and South Korea test-fire ballistic missiles Tensions continue to escalate in the Korean peninsula as both North and South Korea test-fires ballistic missiles on Wednesday. The US and the United Nations condemned Pyongyang's missile launch, saying that it threatens regional stability. North Korean state news agency KCNA said the missiles were testing a new "railway missile system" and flew 800 kilometers before hitting a target at sea. And finally... *) Elon Musk's SpaceX venture launches Inspiration4 spaceflight In a world first, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying only inexperienced civilians has launched into Earth's orbit. After just over five months of training, the civilians blasted into space aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule. The four Americans making the historic journey will be in Earth's orbit for three days at an altitude of 575 kilometres, further than any human has travelled since 2009.
*) Afghanistan facing humanitarian crisis month into Taliban rule It has been a month since the Taliban swept to power in Afghanistan, seizing the capital Kabul with barely a fight. Since the Taliban took over, it has announced an all-male interim cabinet and restarted operations at Kabul airport. But the month has also been marked by a crippling cash crisis, an erosion of women's rights and reports of the Taliban pursuing revenge killings. The UN has urged the international community to provide a “lifeline” of much-needed aid to Afghans, who also face famine, drought and poverty. *) North Korea fires 2 ballistic missiles into eastern waters North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles into waters off its eastern coast just two days after claiming to have tested a new missile. Japan said the missiles landed outside its economic zone in the waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula and did not cause damage. Wednesday's launches came as China's foreign minister was in Seoul to discuss nuclear negotiations with the North, making Pyongyang's provocation in front of its biggest ally highly unusual. *) Palestinian prison escapee accuses Israel of torture upon recapture A Palestinian man who was recaptured after his escape from a high-security prison is being tortured by Israeli authorities, a lawyer has said. Mohammed al Arida has severe wounds, shows signs of sleep deprivation and has not received any treatment, a lawyer affiliated with the Palestinian Prisoner Society said. The Society will be talking to the four men recaptured after escaping on September 6. *) Californians vote to keep Democratic governor California's Democratic governor has defeated a recall aimed at kicking him out of office, spurred by mask mandates and Covid lockdowns. Had Gavin Newsom lost the confidence vote, he would have most certainly been replaced by a Republican in a deeply Democratic US state. The California recall, which turned on Newsom's approach to the pandemic, mirrors America's deep political and social divide over Covid. And finally... *) Pet influencers on the rise in Singapore You may have seen them for years on your Insta feed, they have more followers than you but you can't help but stop and "aww" over them. Pet influencers are real and have taken off in Singapore where strict Covid lockdowns further fueled their rise. Sasha and Piper of the "Lomodoggies" Instagram account are one such influencer pair who earn thousands of dollars by posing with products. Tapping into the pet influencer boom are their humans and also agencies who say business is thriving, because, who doesn't love a cute cat on their feed?
*)US to assess its ties with Pakistan over Afghanistan's future The US will be looking at its ties with Pakistan to formulate the role Islamabad can play in Afghanistan's future, State Secretary Antony Blinken has said. At a Congress hearing on Afghanistan, Blinken said some of Pakistan's interests – such as harbouring Taliban members – conflict with the US even as it cooperated on counterterrorism. Blinken told lawmakers the Biden administration will be reassessing its relationship with Pakistan. *) Israeli PM Bennett meets President Sisi in Egypt Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi in the resort town of Sharm el Sheikh. This is the first official trip by an Israeli head of government to Egypt in a decade. The two discussed bilateral relations and efforts to revive the peace process. Bennett described the meeting as "very good.” *) Biden visits a burning western US ahead of California election stop US President Joe Biden is on a two-day visit across three Western states to survey the damage caused by wildfires. He's calling for protection of the environment and mitigation of the damage caused by natural disasters. Biden's trip aims to highlight his multitrillion-dollar legislation focused on renewing failing infrastructure, so the US is better able to cope with the changing climate. *) South Korean antitrust agency fines Google $177M South Korea's antitrust regulator has fined Alphabet Inc's Google 207 billion won (wahn), or 176.6 million dollars. The regulator says Google abused its dominant market position to restrict competition in the mobile operating system market. The Korea Fair Trade Commission investigated Google for allegedly preventing local smartphone makers from customising its Android OS. The fine is the latest antitrust setback for Google in South Korea. And finally... *) Global Witness report says record number of activists killed A record number of environmental and land rights activists were murdered last year, according to a report by the campaign group Global Witness. At least 227 activists were killed around the world – the highest number recorded for a second consecutive year. The report called the victims "environmental defenders" killed for protecting natural resources. Since the Paris Agreement on climate change was signed in 2015, the organisation says on average four activists have been killed each week.
*)Qatari FM meets Taliban leadership Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani has met Taliban-appointed Afghan Prime Minister, Muhammad Hasan Akhund. The Qatari delegation also met former president Hamid Karzai, as well as politician Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul. Al Thani discussed concerted efforts to combat terrorist organizations that threaten Afghanistan's stability. Qatar has been mediating talks between the Taliban, the US and the now-ousted Afghan government for years. *) Iran allows IAEA to service nuclear monitoring cameras Iran says it will allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to conduct nuclear monitoring through cameras. IAEA's head Rafael Grossi met with officials in Tehran on Sunday. Grossi says some of the most imminent issues have been addressed, and there's an understanding of cooperation with the new administration. *) North Korea test-fires long-range cruise missile North Korea has carried out successful long-range cruise missile tests over the weekend, according to local state media. The missiles reportedly flew 1,500 kilometres before hitting their targets and falling into the country's waters. The tests come amid a lengthy standoff between North Korea and the United States over denuclearisation. The US has reacted to the tests, saying they pose threats to region and beyond. *) Thousands demand impeachment of President Bolsonaro Brazilians rallied on Sunday in major cities demanding the impeachment of President Jair Bolsonaro. He's come under increased pressure in recent months over his government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the economy. Protests have intensified ahead of next year's presidential elections, with a recent poll indicating Bolsonaro will likely lose to former president Lula da Silva. And finally... *) Spears announces engagement with long-term boyfriend Britney Spears is getting married to her boyfriend of five years, Sam Asghari. The engagement comes days after her father Jamie Spears filed to end his control over the pop star's personal and financial life after 13 years. Spears told a judge in June she wanted to marry Asghari and have a baby with him. Legally, Spears can get married, but her conservatorship must approve it as with other major life decisions.
*)UN: Afghanistan on brink of “universal poverty” The UN Security Council says the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is getting worse in the country's rural regions. The body met amid reports of rights abuse in the country since the Taliban took control. Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai says it will take more than statements to ensure the Taliban respects the rights of women and girls. *) US marks 20 years since 9/11 attacks Saturday will mark 20 years since two planes flew into the World Trade Center buildings in New York City, killing nearly 3,000 people. A third plane crashed into the Pentagon, causing a partial collapse of the building. The 9/11 attacks led to a drastic change in American foreign policy. The US retaliation included bringing about regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq. But critics say the US approach has increased global instability. *) US Biden and China's Xi hold first call in seven months US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have spoken for the first time in nearly seven months. Chinese media described the call as “candid” while the White House says the pair spoke about managing competition and avoiding conflict. Relations between Washington and Beijing have been at their lowest point in decades. *) Turkey administers more than 100M Covid-19 vaccine doses The number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in Turkey has now passed 100 million. Turkey started its inoculation programme in January and it has been using the vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and the Chinese company Sinovac. The health minister says this is a milestone in the country's fight against the virus. And finally... *) Raducanu to face Fernandez in all-teen US Open final British 18-year-old Emma Raducanu has become the first qualifier to ever reach a Grand Slam final by defeating Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4 at the US Open on Thursday. Raducanu, ranked 150th, became the youngest Grand Slam finalist since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova won at Wimbledon in 2004. She advanced to Saturday's US Open final at Arthur Ashe Stadium against 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez.
*) Morocco's ruling party suffers crushing defeat in elections Morocco's ruling Justice and Development Party has suffered great losses in the parliamentary elections, according to preliminary results. The PJD went from holding 125 seats to 12 in Parliament. The vote has seen the rise of the main liberal and centre-right parties. The PJD has been in power since 2011 following pro-democracy protests. *) Taliban forbid protests and, possibly, women sports The new Taliban government is seeking to end protests in Afghanistan after days of heavy-handed assaults on protesters as well as journalists covering the demonstrations. The minister has issued an order to end all protests unless demonstrators get prior permission, including approval of slogans and banners. It's unlikely the women who have been leading rallies demanding their rights from the hardline rulers will be allowed to protest under the rules. Women will also be prohibited from playing sports, Australian media quoted the Taliban cultural commission as saying on Wednesday. *) Afghan national flag carrier to resume international flights next week Afghanistan's national flag carrier is preparing to resume international flights next week, its new president has said. Rahmatullah Gulzad praised Qatari and Turkish technical experts for their assistance in getting Kabul airport operational in the shortest possible time. The teams are still working on Kabul airport, he said, adding they will stay for another month to ensure that it meets international standards. *) Libyan warlord Haftar hires American lobbyists to woo Biden Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar has hired veteran American political insiders to lobby on his behalf with the Biden administration and Congress. Haftar has paid a $40,000 retainer to former special counsel to president Bill Clinton, Lanny Davis and ex-Republican House lawmaker Robert Livingston. A Foreign Agents Registration Act filing dated September 3 shows Haftar will pay some $960,000 over the course of six months. And finally... *) Confederate leader Robert Lee's statue removed in Virginia The statue of the confederate general Robert E Lee has been taken down in the US state of Virginia. The pro-slavery leader's monument was removed after a year-long battle. The figure had been towering over Richmond since 1890. Memorials of confederate leaders had been increasingly targeted in the country's protests against racism.
*) Lafarge accused of paying off Daesh France's highest court has ruled that cement giant Lafarge must be investigated again for complicity in crimes against humanity. The company is accused of making payments to Daesh at the height of Syria's civil war, to keep their factories running. It's facing several indictments, including financing terrorism and endangering life. *) Taliban announce new government The Taliban has announced a caretaker government and declared the country an Islamic Emirate. The cabinet is led by Taliban co-founder Mohammad Hassan Akhund, while the Interior Ministry went to Siraj Haqqani, a man on the FBI's most wanted list. There's no evidence of any of the inclusiveness pledged by the Taliban after their takeover of the country. *) Guinea opposition leader hails military coup Guinea's main opposition leader has welcomed Sunday's ousting of president Alpha Conde by the army. He says the military made a historic act that completes the fight started by pro-democracy groups. Meanwhile, the deposed president remains in military detention. *) Boeing in more trouble over 737 MAX A US judge has ruled that Boeing's board of directors must face a lawsuit from shareholders over two fatal 737 MAX crashes. The FAA lifted a flight ban on the 737 MAX in November after a 20-month review. Boeing was charged by the Justice Department with 737 MAX fraud conspiracy, and agreed to a $2.5 billion settlement to defer prosecution. And finally... *) Prisoners in Rome treated with Gelato Prisoners in Rome were treated to tasty ice-creams during one of Italy's hottest summers on record. The gelato was courtesy of Pope Francis, who sent 15,000 of the flavorful milky treats. The pontiff's office also set up medical and bathing facilities for the homeless near the Vatican.
*) US officials look to Qatar for help with Taliban US Secretaries of State and defence are in Qatar to seek support for the ongoing efforts to evacuate Americans and at-risk allies left behind in Afghanistan. Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin have met with Qatar's leaders to discuss a number of issues, including how to enhance security within Afghanistan. Qatar has become the main mediator between Western countries and the Taliban since the group's takeover. *) Taliban in full control of Afghanistan Meanwhile, the Taliban says it has defeated the last pocket of resistance by taking control of Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley. This means they've taken over the entire country just three weeks after capturing the capital, Kabul. National Resistance Front leader Ahmad Massoud offered the Taliban a negotiated settlement to end the violence. *) Israel carries out airstrikes on Gaza Israel's Defence Force says it carried out several airstrikes in Gaza on Monday night. Fighter jets hit locations in Khan Yunus. The Palestinian health authority has not reported any immediate casualties or injuries. *) UN warns of severe hunger in northern Ethiopia The UN's World Food Programme is warning of severe hunger in northern Ethiopia. It says a blockade on aid is bringing millions to the brink of famine. The UN is unable to get aid into many areas because of checkpoints and the blowing up of crucial access bridges. And finally... *) Nasa's rover collects samples from Mars NASA's Perseverance Rover has successfully completed collecting its first samples from Mars. The samples are from the Martian Rock, a core from Jezero Crater. The rocks are the first to be scientifically identified and sent back to earth from another planet.
*) Taliban says it takes Panjshir, last holdout Afghan province Taliban says it has taken control of Panjshir province north of Kabul, the last holdout of anti-Taliban forces in the country. "With this victory, our country is completely taken out of the quagmire of war," chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid declared in a press conference. But the anti-Taliban force has vowed to carry on fighting, saying its retreat was a battle tactic. The Panjshir Valley is famed for being the site of resistance to Soviet forces in the 1980s and the Taliban in the late 1990s. *) Shaky calm in Guinea after Conde's apparent ouster Uneasy calm has returned to the streets of Guinea's capital Conakry, as its citizens await the announcement of a new government after the apparent overthrow of President Alpha Conde by an elite army unit which drew global condemnation. The special forces summoned Conde's ministers and heads of government institutions to a meeting, warning that failure to attend would be considered a "rebellion". The takeover in the West African nation that holds the world's largest bauxite reserves, an ore used to produce aluminium, sent prices of the metal skyrocketing to a 10-year high over fears of further supply disruption in the downstream market. There was no indication of such disruption yet. *) Ida's death count rises while 600,000 still lack power Hurricane Ida's death toll continues to rise, with many in the US northeast holding out hope for people missing in the floodwaters. Nearly 600,000 customers in Louisiana still lack power a week after the storm made landfall. Ida slammed into Louisiana on August 29 as a powerful Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 240 kmph. *) Several Palestinians escape from high-security Israeli jail Six Palestinian resistance fighters have broken out of a high-security Israeli prison in what Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called a grave incident. Israeli police and the military have started a search after the escape from Gilboa prison in northern Israel. Five of the escapees belong to Islamic Jihad movement and one is a former commander of an armed group affiliated with the mainstream Fatah party. Officials said the escapees appeared to have opened an hole from their cell toilet floor to access passages formed by the prison's construction. *) 'Shang-Chi' smashes box office records with $71.4M debut Disney's new "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" has scored an unexpectedly strong $71.4 million opening, industry observer Exhibitor Relations reported. The film enjoys the second biggest opening of this pandemic year, behind Marvel's "Black Widow," which had an $80 million opening.
*) Taliban close to forming new government in Afghanistan Taliban is expected to announce a new government in Afghanistan. The announcement of a new administration could be made after Friday afternoon prayers, Taliban sources say. It's been almost three weeks since the group took control of the country, and many essential services and government institutions are still not functioning. The country faces an economic crisis as Qatar and Turkey try to restart operations at Kabul airport. *) State of emergency declared in New York and New Jersey The northeast US has been hit by flash floods and a rising death toll, after record breaking rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Ida. At least 45 people are now known to have died in the northeastern United States after heavy rain caused by the remnants of the hurricane led to flash flooding. The storm was the 5th worst in US history and President Joe Biden says the event's ferocity shows the climate crisis has arrived. *) Japan PM Suga won't seek re-election after year in office Japanese Prime Minister Yoshide Suga says he will not run for re-election in September, stepping down from leading the ruling LDP. Suga has been in office for a year - taking over from Shinzo Abe, who resigned due to health issues. Suga's support ratings have dropped as the nation struggles with rising Covid-19 infections. National elections are due in Japan in October. *) S.Korea says it is developing more powerful missiles to deter N.Korea South Korea is reportedly in the final stages of developing a ballistic missile that can carry a warhead of up to 3 tonnes. This comes as the country unveiled budget proposals aimed at bolstering its defences against North Korea. The missile would be the latest in a tit-for-tat conventional missile race between the two Koreas that is set to accelerate after Seoul and Washington agreed to scrap all bilateral restrictions on missile development. And finally... *) ABBA back after 40 years with new album And yes here they go again - the return of ABBA - after 40 years of one of the most successful pop groups of all time. ABBA are finally set to unveil a new 10-song album and a virtual stage show. Abba Voyage will be released in November, before a 'revolutionary' set of concerts where they will be represented by holograms in a show. The quartet - who split up in 1982 - said they ended up back in the recording studio while working on the stage show.
*) Chaotic US withdrawal likely to 'collapse' Afghanistan's economy The US credit rating agency Fitch says the economy of Afghanistan is on the edge of collapse two weeks after the Taliban captured Kabul. Afghanistan has about 10 billion dollars in funds but the group is unlikely to get access to them. Thousands in Kabul were queuing outside banks to withdraw cash, which led the Taliban to impose weekly limits on withdrawals. Food prices have gone up by 50 percent while fuel prices increased by 75 percent. *) Syrian regime, Russian forces agree to ceasefire in Daraa A Russian-brokered ceasefire has come into force in Daraa province in southwestern Syria. Regime forces have been attempting to retake control of the opposition-held area. Daraa is part of a de-escalation zone, but armed groups and regime forces are accusing each other of thwarting ceasefire efforts. *) Kashmiri resistance leader Syed Ali Geelani dies at 92 Kashmiri pro-freedom icon Syed Ali Geelani has been buried in a tightly controlled pre-dawn ceremony. This comes as Indian authorities imposed a harsh lockdown across the troubled Himalayan region. The uncompromising campaigner against Indian rule in Kashmir died late on Wednesday at the age of 92 following a long illness. Geelani, the most outspoken critic of India who spent some 15 years in jail or under house arrest, had wanted to be buried at the Martyrs Cemetery in Srinagar. But Indian authorities rejected that request. *) Afghanistan's first cricket match greenlit since Taliban takeover The Taliban has approved Afghanistan's first cricket Test since its takeover, raising hopes that international matches will continue as usual under their rule. During its first stint in power, the Taliban banned most forms of entertainment - including many sports. The Test match, to be played in Hobart from November 27-December 1, was scheduled for last year but was put off due to the Covid-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions. And finally... *) Cristiano scores 111th goal to break FIFA's men record Cristiano Ronaldo has broken the record for the most goals scored in international men's football. The 36-year-old scored two late headers against the Republic of Ireland in a world cup qualifying match. Ronaldo breaks the record formerly held by Ali Daei of Iran, who scored 109 goals. Ronaldo is already the top scorer in club football's top tournament, the Champions League.
*) Britain in talks with Taliban over safe passage of remaining nationals *) China's 'national security' data law comes into effect *) Deaths rise as southern US tallies Hurricane Ida damage *) Israel increases besieged Gaza's water quota, fishing zone *) Venice opens film festival with caution
Last US troops depart Afghanistan, ending America's longest war, and Jon Stewart heads back to TV in September with a deep dive show *) US military finishes withdrawal from Afghanistan The US has completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending America's longest war and leaving behind a socially fractured and economically depressed country that's now under the control of the Taliban. The withdrawal of American troops closes a chapter in military history likely to be remembered for colossal failures, and unfulfilled promises. The completion of withdrawal comes as Washington faces criticism after a US drone strike killed ten civilians, including children, in Kabul. Taliban, which staged a lightning-swift takeover this month, on Tuesday were celebrating the withdrawal of the last US troops with gunfire. *) Syria regime shelling kills civilian in Daraa after talks collapse Syrian regime forces have shelled opposition-held parts of a volatile southern city of Daraa, killing at least one person. The attack on the flashpoint city comes as rebels killed four regime soldiers after Russia-backed talks to end the presence of opposition fighters in the area collapsed. Daraa became known as the cradle of the uprising against Syria's Bashar al Assad that erupted in 2011. *) Ida inflicts ‘catastrophic' destruction on Louisiana Rescuers comb through the catastrophic damage Hurricane Ida did to Louisiana. The fierce storm has killed at least two people, stranded others in rising floodwaters and sheared the roofs off homes. Ida knocked out power for all of New Orleans, with more than a million properties across Louisiana without power. *) At least six Palestinians injured in live fire near Gaza border At least six Palestinians have been injured by the Israeli military which used live fire and gas bombs to push protesters away from the Gaza border fence. Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated along the border, calling for an end to the 14-year Israeli-led blockade of the small coastal enclave. Some protesters burned tyres and hurled rocks at Israeli soldiers. And finally... *) Jon Stewart returns to TV in September with deep dive show Six years after he quit "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart is returning to television with a show that takes an in-depth look at current affairs. Apple says "The Problem With Jon Stewart" will launch on its Apple TV+ streaming platform on September 30. Stewart passed the mike to Trevor Noah in 2015 and has since made only infrequent public appearances.
Multiple rockets hit near Kabul airport as US and its allies rush evacuations, and Cristiano Ronaldo breaks Man City hearts. *) Rockets fired at Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport US anti-missile defences have intercepted as many as five rockets fired at Kabul's airport with no casualties reported. The US is rushing to end its longest war and evacuate remaining citizens and at-risk Afghans before Tuesday's deadline. The mission became more dangerous after a Daesh-K suicide attack on Thursday killed 170 Afghans and 13 US troops at the airport. On Sunday, the US said its second drone strike in a week blew up “multiple suicide bombers” from Daesh-K. An Afghan official said three children were killed in the strike. *) Ida downs New Orleans power on deadly path through Louisiana Hurricane Ida has knocked out power to all of New Orleans and inundated coastal Louisiana communities on a deadly path through the Gulf Coast. Forecasters warned of flash floods and life-threatening storm surge as Ida continued its rampage Monday through Louisiana and Mississippi. Ida has already been blamed for at least one death in Louisiana. *) Scores killed in Houthi strikes on Yemen base, spokesman says At least 30 soldiers have been killed and 60 wounded on Sunday in air strikes on a Saudi-led coalition military base in southwest Yemen. The Houthis carried out several attacks using armed drones and ballistic missiles on al Anad military base, a southern forces spokesperson said. Saudi Arabia became involved in Yemen's war in 2015 to quash a Houthi uprising. The ensuing conflict caused the world's worst humanitarian crisis. *) Palestinian president, Israeli defence minister hold rare talks Israel's defence minister has held talks with the Palestinian president in Ramallah, the first high-level meeting between the two sides in years. Sunday's meeting between Benny Gantz and Mahmoud Abbas signalled a possible shift after limited communication between the Palestinian Authority and Israeli leaders in recent years. Gantz's office said he told Abbas that Israel will take new measures to strengthen Palestine's economy. A Palestinian official said the leaders discussed possible steps, including demands for a halt in Israeli military operations in the occupied West Bank. *)City fans disappointed as Ronaldo returns to Manchester United Cristiano Ronaldo is set to be back at Manchester United, breaking hearts at Man City after rumours fuelled hopes that the Portuguese star would pick them. United agreed to a deal with Juventus on Friday to bring Ronaldo back to the club where he spent six seasons, winning eight major trophies plus his first Ballon d'Or. News of Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford has sent the United support into a frenzy of excitement.
*) US, allies ask people to leave Kabul airport area over Daesh threat More than 80 people have been killed in the twin explosions outside Kabul airport, officials at Afghanistan's Emergency Hospital have said. The death toll can rise as many of the wounded were taken to other hospitals in the city. Over 40 of the victims were Afghan civilians and at least 13 were US troops. Daesh's Khorasan affiliate has claimed responsibility for the attacks. US-led coalition forces in Kabul are bracing for more such attacks while winding up their evacuation mission. *) US flag flies at half-mast to honour Kabul attacks victims The American flag has been lowered at half-mast in the US Capitol to honour the victims of the Kabul airport attacks. Flags on all state buildings will be flown at half-mast Friday in memory of the service members and civilians killed. US President Joe Biden vowed to carry on evacuating people fleeing Afghanistan. He also vowed to hunt down those responsible for the attack and make them pay. *) Turkey's president Kabul blasts highlight Daesh danger Speaking ahead of a trip to Bosnia, Turkey's President Erdogan has said that Daesh's attack on Kabul airport shows how dangerous the terror group is in the region and world. The Kabul airport blasts and Daesh involvement shows how crucial the security of Afghanistan is to the world, Erdogan said at a press conference. Erdogan said Turkey's priority remains to evacuate our citizens willing to return after Thursday's bombings killed at least 72 Afghans and 13 US troops. *) Protests erupt amidst vote on new cabinet Tensions flared in Lima ahead of Peru's vote of confidence for the new Cabinet of leftist President Pedro Castillo. Although confirmed a winner by 44-thousand votes, this week's Congress vote is a huge test for his presidency. Before the vote, Prime Minister Guido Bellido reinforced the government's plans to lift Peru from the nation's most grave, political, social, environmental and health crises in decades. * ) Tom Cruise shows off latest daredevil 'Mission: Impossible' stunt Tom Cruise has presented what he called his most dangerous stunt ever in a clip from his upcoming "Mission: Impossible 7" movie. Cruise, known for doing his own stunts, takes a motorbike ride down a ramp and off a giant cliff in Norway and lets go in mid-air before his parachute is released. "Mission: Impossible 7," in which Cruise returns as spy Ethan Hunt, is due for release in May 2022 after a coronavirus-disrupted shoot in Italy, Norway and the UK of more than a year.
US and allies urge people to leave Kabul airport area over imminent Daesh threat, and man who appeared on Nirvana's "Nevermind" cover as a baby sues for “sexual exploitation” *) US, allies ask people to leave Kabul airport area over Daesh threat The US, UK and Australia have urged their citizens to stay away from Kabul's international airport, citing a terrorist threat. Thousands of Afghans and foreigners are hoping to get evacuated before the August 31 deadline. Despite fresh warnings, thousands of people desperate to flee the Taliban-controlled country have gathered at the gates of Kabul airport. *) Sydney hospitals erect emergency tents as cases hit record Australia's daily Covid-19 cases have topped 1,000 for the first time since the global pandemic began. This comes as two major hospitals in Sydney set up emergency outdoor tents to help deal with a rise in patients. Sydney is struggling to stamp out a surge driven by the fast-spreading Delta variant despite two months under lockdown. *) Boko Haram attack kills over a dozen soldiers in southern Niger In Niger, at least 16 soldiers have been killed and nine wounded in an attack by Boko Haram militants. Officials said hundreds of militants overran a military post in a region bordering Nigeria, where Boko Haram and Daesh are active. The overnight attack comes only two months after some 6,000 people returned to Baroua having fled violence in 2015. *) Israel targets protesters along Gaza security fence At least 20 Palestinians in blockaded Gaza have been wounded after the Israeli army opened fire on them, medical sources and witnesses say. The Palestinians were protesting near Gaza's border security fence against years of Israel's siege, demanding reconstruction after the 11-day conflict in May. However, the protests were more muted than a weekend demonstration that left dozens wounded. And finally ... * ) Man featured on Nirvana cover as baby sues for 'sexual exploitation' A man who was featured as a naked infant on the cover of Nirvana's "Nevermind" album is suing the band for sexual exploitation. Spencer Elden was photographed by his father's friend in 1991 when he was four months old, naked in a pool reaching for a dollar bill on a fish hook. The lawsuit claimed neither Elden nor his guardians "signed a release authorising the use" of the photograph, which it described as "commercial child pornography". "Nevermind" featuring songs such as "Smells Like Teen Spirit" went on to sell 30 million copies.
*) Biden sticks to August 31 Afghan withdrawal deadline President Joe Biden says the US is on pace to complete all its evacuations from Afghanistan by the end of the month. Biden emphasises that reaching that goal remains dependent on cooperation from the new Taliban rulers. He says staying in Afghanistan past the deadline would raise the “terror” threat against Americans and allied forces. *) Algeria breaks off diplomatic ties with neighbouring Morocco Algeria says it has snapped diplomatic ties with Morocco after accusing its neighbour of spying and supporting a separatist movement, a charge Morocco denies. Relations between the two nations have deteriorated since last year when the issue of Western Sahara sovereignty flared up after years of comparative quiet. Morocco regards the disputed territory as its own, while Algeria backs the independence movement there. *) UN says millions one step away from famine in Yemen The United Nations has warned that millions of people in Yemen are just a step away from famine. Around five million in the country are facing imminent starvation and the crisis has been aggravated by Houthi rebels who have blocked the delivery of supplies. The UN's Martin Griffiths told the Security Council that roughly two-thirds of the country's population relies on humanitarian aid. *) Four years after mass expulsion from Myanmar, plight of Rohingya continues It's been four years since Myanmar's military launched a deadly crackdown on the Rohingya minority living in Rakhine state. Hundreds of thousands of people fled to neighbouring Bangladesh following the brutal campaign of violence. The UN describes the Rohingya as one of the world's most persecuted minority groups, which has faced decades of discrimination and human rights abuses. And finally ... * ) Legendary Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts dies at 80 Charlie Watts, the drummer of the legendary rock'n'roll band the Rolling Stones has died at the age of 80. Publicist Bernard Doherty said Watts passed away peacefully in a London hospital surrounded by his family. He joined the Stones early in 1963 and ranked just behind Mick Jagger and Keith Richards as the group's longest lasting and most essential member.
*) NATO diplomat says Kabul evacuation continuing on war footing Evacuations at Kabul airport are taking place on a "war footing", NATO says as foreign forces try to meet an August 31 deadline to leave Afghanistan. Taliban officials have been briefed about the evacuation and logistics at the airport, a NATO official said. The official stated better crowd management was still required even though the situation outside Kabul airport was relatively calmer. *) Tunisia's president extends suspension of parliament Tunisia's President Kais Saied has extended the suspension of parliament until further notice, a month after granting himself greater powers in what activists have called a "purge". Saied also extended the suspension of parliamentary immunity, justifying his intervention as necessary to save Tunisia from collapse. The Tunisian president has not yet appointed a new prime minister or announced a roadmap demanded by allies and key players. *) Harris rebukes China in major speech on Indo-Pacific US Vice President Kamala Harris has accused Beijing of continuing to "coerce" and "intimidate" in the South China Sea during her trip to Singapore. She also pledged Washington would pursue a free and open Indo Pacific. The area has growing importance to the Biden administration, which has made countering China's influence globally a centrepiece of its foreign policy. *) California firefighters battle a dozen large wildfires More than 13,500 firefighters are working to contain a dozen large California wildfires that have forced thousands of people to flee to safety. After an extensive review of fire damage, Governor Gavin Newsom requested a presidential major disaster declaration for eight counties. The Caldor Fire, just 9 percent contained, has become the nation's number one priority for firefighting resources. And finally ... * ) Tokyo Paralympics to open as Japan battles virus surge Tokyo's Paralympic Games will open as Japan battles a surge in Covid-19 cases. The Games will officially be declared open on Tuesday evening by Japan's Emperor Naruhito but virus rules mean most of the stadium will be empty. As a “sign of solidarity," Afghanistan's flag will be displayed at the opening ceremony even though the country's athletes were not able to get to Tokyo.
*) US evacuates 11,000 out Kabul airport over weekend US President Joe Biden has once again defended his administration's decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Washington says it evacuated 11,000 vulnerable people out of Kabul airport this weekend – bringing the total number of US evacuations to 28,000. Biden said there is a “long way to go” before everyone is evacuated with the US unable to ascertain an accurate headcount of its citizens there. *) More countries clamping down on Afghan refugees influx Meanwhile, more and more nations are concerned about an influx of Afghan refugees after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. On Sunday, Australia denied visas to 100 contractors guarding their Kabul embassy and Austria said it won't be taking in any more refugees. Russian President Vladimir Putin said militants may leave Afghanistan by pretending to be refugees and then appear in his country. Turkey has pressed on the EU to help fleeing Afghans as President Erdogan stressed his country cannot handle additional “migration burden.” *) Cuba records one of highest Covid rates in western hemisphere After recording one of the world's lowest Covid-19 rates last year, Cuba now has one of the western hemisphere's highest. The island nation reported around 12-thousand cases in 2020 – that total has increased by 50 times so far this year. Hospitals are struggling to respond to the rise in Delta variant cases because of a lack of medical supplies. *) At least 22 dead in flooding in US state of Tennessee Devastating floods in the US state of Tennessee have left at least 22 people dead and dozens missing, officials said in what they warned was a preliminary toll. Tennessee was hit on Saturday by historic storms and flooding, dumping 38 centimetres or more of rain. Rural roads, state highways and bridges were washed away as power outages affected thousands of people. And finally ... * ) Bitcoin jumps above $50,000 for first time since May Bitcoin broke back above $50,000 on Monday for the first time in three months as investors piled back into the cryptocurrency on bargain-buying. The unit climbed around two percent to $50,249.15, its highest since mid-May. This came after it began tumbling on a range of issues including China's crackdown on cryptocurrencies and Elon Musk's concerns on the environmental impact of mining.
*) Over 18,000 people evacuated since Sunday from Kabul airport More than 18,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul airport since the Taliban took over the Afghan capital, a Nato official said, declining to be identified. At the airport, military evacuation flights continued but access remained difficult for many, with the US struggling to pick up the pace of American and Afghan evacuations. On Thursday, Taliban insurgents fired into the air to try to control the crowds gathered at the airport's blast walls. *) Brazil's Bolsonaro blocking critics on social media Human Rights Watch has accused Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro of violating the right to free speech by blocking critics on social media. The group reported that at least 176 journalists, lawmakers, influencers, ordinary citizens and others deemed critical of the president have had their access to his accounts blocked, mostly on Twitter. Bolsonaro, who has built his political brand largely around his fiery social media screeds, has around seven million followers on Twitter. *) Two killed, five injured in Mogadishu suicide bombing At least two people have been killed and five wounded after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device inside a cafe in Somalia's capital. The suicide bomber targeted a tea shop near a crowded junction in northern Mogadishu which was reportedly frequented by members of the Somali security forces as well as civilians. The Al Qaeda-linked group Al Shabab claimed the attack through their news agency, according to the US monitoring group SITE. *) Grace weakens to tropical storm after lashing Mexican Caribbean Hurricane Grace grounded flights and forced tourists to spend the night in shelters on part of Mexico's Caribbean coastline before weakening to a tropical storm. Grace made landfall before dawn as a Category One hurricane on the Yucatan Peninsula near the town of Tulum, famed for its Mayan temples. The governor of southeastern Quintana Roo state said hundreds were evacuated and the storm passed the Riviera Maya coastline. And finally ... * ) Singapore opens its first ice cream museum America's Museum of Ice Cream has launched its first international outlet in Singapore, providing some sweet distraction from the Covid-19 pandemic. The Museum of Ice Cream said it planned to expand to more locations soon, the next opening in Austin, Texas. Its flagship New York museum is wildly popular with social media influencers and frequently attracts celebrities.
*) Three dead after anti-Taliban protests in Jalalabad Three people have been killed and more than a dozen injured after Taliban members opened fire during a protest against the group in Jalalabad. Meanwhile, former president Ashraf Ghani said he hopes to return home, after fleeing to the UAE but Washington said he is "no longer a figure in Afghanistan." US President Joe Biden said it was impossible to leave Afghanistan without chaos and that some soldiers may stay in Afghanistan past August thirty-first to evacuate Americans. *) Haiti quake death toll rises to 2,189 The death toll from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti has risen to 2,189 with 600,000 people in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, local civil protection authorities said. Flooding and heavy rains over the past days interrupted efforts to search for survivors and help those left homeless or without food and water. International aid workers said hospitals in the areas worst hit by the quake are mostly incapacitated and that there is a dire need for medical equipment. *) Turkish President meets with UAE National Security Adviser Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks in Ankara with UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan. They discussed bilateral and regional developments and UAE investments in Turkey, Turkey's Communications Directorate said. Turkey and UAE have been at loggerheads over regional issues, supporting opposite sides in the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Mediterranean. *) Greek firefighters battle growing forest blaze near Athens Greek firefighters battled a wildfire raging through one of the last remaining pine forests near Athens, warning that homes could be at risk. More than 500 wildfires have broken out in recent weeks across the country, ravaging swathes of forest and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Like other countries across the Mediterranean region including Turkey and Tunisia, Greece has seen some of its highest temperatures in decades this summer. And finally ... * ) Rights groups urge Apple to scrap plans to inspect iMessages More than 90 policy and rights groups around the world are urging Apple to abandon plans to inspect iMessages. The tech company says it intends to scan children's messages for nudity and the phones of adults for images of child sex abuse with its upcoming iOS 15 update. Signatories are concerned that the capabilities will be used to censor protected speech and threaten privacy and security.
*) Taliban allowing 'safe passage' from Kabul in US airlift The White House said the Taliban had promised that civilians could travel safely to the Kabul airport as the US military stepped up its airlift for Americans and Afghans. A White House official said some 3,200 people have been evacuated by the US military so far. Washington wants to complete the exodus before its August 31 withdrawal deadline. *) Tropical storm halts Haiti quake recovery efforts Haitian officials raised the death toll from a deadly weekend earthquake to 1,941 and the number of injured to 9,900. Tropical Storm Grace has forced a temporary halt to rescue efforts, lashing the country with 38 centimeters of rain. Officials said the magnitude 7.2 earthquake destroyed more than 7,000 homes and damaged nearly 5,000, leaving about 30,000 families homeless. *) Iran ups uranium enrichment to 60 Iran has established a process to accelerate production of highly enriched uranium. International Atomic Energy Agency director Rafael Grossi informed IAEA member states that Tehran was boosting capacity to enrich uranium up to 60 percent at its Natanz enrichment plant. The move takes Iran closer to the 90 percent purity level needed for use in a nuclear weapon. *) Investigators say Bolivia security forces committed 'massacres' An independent group has accused Bolivia's security forces of carrying out "massacres" during social unrest around the disputed 2019 elections. Clashes between rival supporters and opponents killed at least 37 people after Evo Morales won an unconstitutional fourth term as president in an election. The report by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts also highlights political polarisation surrounding Morales' changing of the constitution and racism against his Indigenous followers. And finally ... * ) Nuclear scientists hail US fusion breakthrough Nuclear scientists using lasers have generated a huge amount of energy from fusion, possibly offering hope for the development of a new clean energy source. Nuclear fusion is considered by some scientists to be a potential energy of the future because it produces little waste and no greenhouse gases. It differs from fission, a technique currently used in nuclear power plants, where the bonds of heavy atomic nuclei are broken to release energy.
*) Biden defends US pullout from Afghanistan President Joe Biden has deflected blame for the Taliban's stunning military takeover after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. He said US troops could not defend a nation whose leaders "gave up and fled," as did President Ashraf Ghani. Kabul airport saw scenes of heartbreak on Monday as thousands of Afghans tried to flee Taliban rule, with at least seven people dying in the chaos. *) UN chief urges world to open doors to Afghan refugees The UN has asked the international community to let Afghan refugees in and not deport those who are taking the risk to get away from the country. It is expected that in the coming months a wave of refugees will move towards Europe and the US. Some countries are now calling for allowing in refugees but France has expressed concerns, vowing to work on preventing an influx of irregular Afghan immigrants to the EU. *) Haiti quake revives anger over aid response in past disasters Saturday's earthquake has revived anger in Haiti over international aid response to a devastating quake that hit the country 11 years ago. Haitians took to social media to urge donors to send money directly to local charities, criticising what they saw as misuse of funds after the 2010 quake and a major hurricane in 2016. Saturday's quake in the poorest country in the Americas killed at least 1,419 people and injured thousands more. *) Zambia's new president vows 'better democracy' after landslide win Zambian president-elect Hakainde Hichilema has slammed the country's outgoing "brutal regime" while promising a "better democracy" in his debut address to the nation. He pledged to foster rule of law and respect for human rights, liberties and freedoms. Hichilema won more than 2.8 million votes against incumbent Edgar Lungu's 1.8 million in Thursday's election. And finally ... * ) Japan's Kaji, the "godfather of Sudoku," dies at 69 Maki Kaji, a puzzle enthusiast and publisher who was known as the "Godfather of Sudoku" has died at 69. The cause of death was bile duct cancer. Sudoku became popular outside Japan around two decades ago after overseas newspapers began printing it. A world championship has been held annually since 2006.
*) Taliban in control of Afghanistan The Taliban has taken over Afghanistan's capital Kabul and now controls almost all of the country after President Ashraf Ghani conceded the group had won the 20-year war. The astonishingly quick collapse of the government, with the Taliban taking over the presidential palace on Sunday night, triggered fear and panic in the capital. Thousands of civilians desperate to flee the country flooded Kabul airport, where at least five people were reported killed in gunfire amid the chaos. *) Powerful earthquake kills over 1,200 people in Haiti The death toll in Haiti from a 7.2-magnitude earthquake has climbed past twelve hundred, as crews desperately dig through collapsed buildings for survivors. Neighbouring countries sent rescue teams, food, and medicine to Haiti where hospitals are overwhelmed by quake victims. Officials said some 13,600 buildings were destroyed and over 13,700 damaged, trapping hundreds of people under rubble and leaving more than 5,700 injured. *) Japan calls for massive evacuation amid heavy rains Now to Japan, where almost two million people have been urged to evacuate their homes after torrential rain triggered floods across the country. At least three people are presumed dead as heavy rains continue to flood streets and residences in the southern part of Japan. Southwestern Japan has been swamped with rain since last week and the weather agency says the downpour is likely to continue in the coming days. *) Zambia opposition leader wins presidential election Business tycoon and opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema is the winner of the hotly contested presidential election in Zambia. Official results showed Hichilema captured a landslide of more than 2.8 million votes against around 1.8 million for President Edgar Lungu. Lungu, who has been in office for six years, tried to retain his mandate despite growing resentment about rising living costs and a crackdown on dissent. And finally ... *) ‘Suicidal reproducer' mammal survives Australia fire A rare, shrew-like Australian marsupial, whose males die en masse from stress after a ‘frenetic' mating season, has survived devastating wildfires that scorched their habitat. That's according to scientists who feared for the future of a key population of silver-headed marsupials that were only formally identified eight years ago. The animal lives a precarious life, dying before age one from the effects of an intense two-week mating season. Females rarely survive a third breeding season.