Monday, December 6News That Matters

World

Covid-19 curbs China’s power in Indo-Pacific, risks of war ‘significant’ – report

Covid-19 curbs China’s power in Indo-Pacific, risks of war ‘significant’ – report

World
Melbourne, December 5 The coronavirus pandemic has weakened China's power in the Indo-Pacific, and the region's deepening security uncertainties present a "significant" risk of war, the Lowy Institute said in a report on Sunday. U.S. allies in the region and key balancing powers such as India have never been more dependent on American capacity and willingness to sustain a military and strategic counterweight in response to China's rise, said the Sydney-based foreign policy think tank. At the same time, Beijing has sought to dissuade Southeast Asian countries from joining the U.S. coalition, while upgrading its military exchanges with Russia and Pakistan as well as North Korea and creating as such a formidable trio of China-aligned nuclear-armed powers in the region. "Whether the emergi...
Pakistani rights activist convicted of espionage, sentenced to 14-year rigorous imprisonment

Pakistani rights activist convicted of espionage, sentenced to 14-year rigorous imprisonment

World
Islamabad, December 5 A Pakistani rights and political activist has been convicted of espionage and sentenced to 14 years of rigorous imprisonment, according to a media report on Sunday. The verdict on Idris Khattak was pronounced this week after the trial concluded in Jhelum. "Khattak was found guilty of espionage and leaking of sensitive information by a Field General Court Martial (FGCM). He was handed down 14-year rigorous jail term," a security source was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper. The source said he was tried under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act, 1923. He was accused of providing the sensitive information to a foreign intelligence agency. Defending his court-martial, the source said that any individual accused of espionage, whether or not he is a ser...
Hundreds march against Covid-19 restrictions in Belgium

Hundreds march against Covid-19 restrictions in Belgium

World
Brussels, December 5 Hundreds of people marched through central Brussels on Sunday to protest tightened Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the Belgian government to counter the latest spike in coronavirus cases. Marchers came to protest the measures that were announced on Friday, the third week in a row that the government has tightened its rules as the latest surge in cases strains the country's health services, depriving people with other life-threatening diseases like cancer of treatment. Shouting "Freedom! Freedom!" and carrying banners that said, "United for our freedom, rights and our children", people marched to the European Union headquarters. Some also carried signs critical of vaccines and against making the coronavirus shots mandatory. On Friday, Prime Minister Alexander De Cr...
UK adds pre-departure travel tests, bans travel from Nigeria amid Omicron fears

UK adds pre-departure travel tests, bans travel from Nigeria amid Omicron fears

World
London, December 5 The UK has re-introduced compulsory pre-departure tests for all travellers entering the country and added Nigeria to its travel ban red list amid fears of the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The UK government said on Saturday that new analysis conducted by the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) indicates that the window between infection and infectiousness may be shorter for the Omicron variant, which increases the efficacy of pre-departure testing as it is more likely to identify positive cases before travel. Therefore, starting Tuesday morning, anyone arriving in the UK is required to provide a pre-booked negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or lateral flow test ndash; taken no earlier than 48 hours before departure. This applies ...
Lynched Sri Lankan’s nearly all bones broken, 99% body burnt: Pak report

Lynched Sri Lankan’s nearly all bones broken, 99% body burnt: Pak report

World
Lahore, December 5 Nearly all bones of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana were broken and his body was 99 per cent burnt in the horrific lynching incident in Pakistan's Punjab province, a media report on Sunday said, citing his post-mortem report. Angry supporters of the hardline Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) attacked a garment factory on Friday and lynched its general manager Diyawadana, who was in his 40s, before setting his body on fire over allegations of blasphemy. The post-mortem report of Diyawadana cited skull and jaw fractures as the cause of death, the Geo News reported. All his vital organs, liver, stomach and one of his kidneys, were affected, while torture marks were visible all over his body and his spinal cord was broken at three different ...
Five dead after Myanmar security forces ram car into Yangon protest – media

Five dead after Myanmar security forces ram car into Yangon protest – media

World
Yangon, December 5 Five people were killed and at least 15 arrested after Myanmar security forces in a car rammed into an anti-coup protest on Sunday morning in Yangon, local news portal Myanmar Now reported. Witnesses on the scene told Reuters dozens had been injured. Photos and videos on social media show a vehicle that crashed through the protesters and bodies lying on the road. Another protest was held in Yangon in the afternoon despite the morning violence. Anti-military protests are continuing despite the killing of more than 1,300 people since the Feb. 1 coup. The scattered protests are often small groups voicing opposition to the overthrow of an elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and the return of military rule. The opposition's shadow government said i...
Pak PM Imran Khan dials Sri Lanka’s President, assures justice to lynched Lankan national

Pak PM Imran Khan dials Sri Lanka’s President, assures justice to lynched Lankan national

World
Colombo, December 5 Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has assured Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that there will be no mercy to the mob which lynched Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana over allegations of blasphemy, the President's office here said on Sunday. Khan telephoned Rajapaksa and said that 113 people have been arrested so far, it said. "All the videos and information related to the incident have been obtained by the Pakistani security forces," a statement from the President's office said. Prime Minister Khan informed President Rajapaksa that Diyawadana, who had served in Pakistan for a long time, had shown a high level of professionalism as a manager. In a shocking incident on Friday, angry supporters of the hardline Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pa...
Man wielding knife in Florida university campus killed

Man wielding knife in Florida university campus killed

World
Washington, December 5 Police shot and killed a man wielding a knife inside a residence hall on the campus of a university in the US state of Florida on Friday night, authorities said. The Melbourne Police Department (MPD) said in a press release posted on its Facebook account that one of its officers and a Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) security officer confronted a man armed with an edged weapon inside a campus building just before 11 p.m. local time on Friday, discharging their firearms and killed the suspect on the spot as he lunged at the officers, Xinhua news agency reported. The incident resulted in the MPD officer sustaining an injury, the MPD said, adding that while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was investigating the officer involved in the shooting, no threa...
Global Covid caseload tops 265.36 mn

Global Covid caseload tops 265.36 mn

World
Washington, Dec ember 5 The global coronavirus caseload has topped 265.36 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 5.24 million and vaccination to over 8.15 billion, according to Johns Hopkins University. In its latest update on Sunday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 265,365,952 and 5,248,572 respectively. And the total number of vaccine doses administered was 8,150,856,694. The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 49,051,140 and 788,202, respectively according to the CSSE. The second worst hit country in terms of cases is India (34,624,360 infections and 470,530 deaths), followed by Brazil (22,138,247 infecti...
Extremists exploit new Twitter’s private media policy

Extremists exploit new Twitter’s private media policy

World
San Francisco, December 5 Twitter has mistakenly suspended several accounts of anti-extremists researchers after extremist groups began exploiting its new private media policy, the media reported. The new rules were announced just a day after Indian-origin Parag Agrawal took over from Co-founder Jack Dorsey as Twitter CEO. According to a report in The Washington Post, the extremist groups began abusing Twitter's new system shortly after it debuted. They used platforms like Telegram and Gab to organise against anti-extremist accounts that expose and keep track of white supremacists at hate rallies. The extremists "got these accounts suspended and had their personal photos removed". Twitter has since launched an internal probe into the matter and has made the necessary corrections. Tw...