Nov 30, 2021

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How Israel is Isolating East Jerusalem from the West Bank to Block a Viable Palestinian State

By Juan Cole
  • The most dangerous aspect of this project is the construction of a settlement the size of a small city in occupied East Jerusalem, on the site of the Jerusalem International Airport, which was the only airport in the West Bank until it was closed — permanently, it now seems — by the Israeli authorities nearly two decades ago.
  • The major settlement projects in Jerusalem are intended to move large groups of illegal settlers to the heart of the city, and to strengthen Israeli control over large areas of land through the deployment of settlement outposts, army barracks and road networks that destroy any contiguity between the slivers of Palestinian territories left for the proposed “state”.
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AWS to help auto makers remotely diagnose issues

  • FleetWise enables customers, including auto suppliers and transportation providers such as Lyft and Uber, to collect, organize and transfer vehicle data to the cloud, while standardizing different data formats to simplify data analysis, according to Mike Tzamaloukas, general manager of AWS for Automotive.
  • FleetWise also was designed to complement data-driven services offered by auto makers, including General Motors Co’s OnStar and Ford Motor Co’s Ford Pro Intelligence, he said.
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Severe Covid infection doubles chances of dying in following year – study

By Sarah Marsh
  • “We conducted a previous study that showed that patients with severe Covid-19 who recovered were at significantly greater risk of being hospitalised in the subsequent six months,” said ProfArch Mainous of the University of Florida, the lead author of the study.
  • The research, published in Frontiers in Medicine, suggests that serious coronavirus infections may significantly damage long-term health, showing the importance of vaccination.
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Japan starts booster COVID vaccinations amid omicron scare

By Mari Yamaguchi | AP
  • Japan’s initial vaccination drive kicked off in mid-February and some medical workers who received jabs more than nine months ago are now eager to get additional protection ahead of a possible next wave of infections — especially after the new variant known as omicron, which was first reported in South Africa last week, was found in Japan on Tuesday.
  • Japan on Wednesday started offering coronavirus vaccine booster shots to health care workers amid growing concerns over a new variant of the virus that has already been detected in the country.
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Omicron coronavirus variant could greatly reduce efficacy of Hong Kong vaccines, top scientist says

By Zoe Low
A leading microbiologist has warned that the Omicron coronavirus variant could significantly reduce the efficacy of vaccines offered in Hong Kong, but said weeks of tests are still needed to determine how easily it spreads.The University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) Dr Kelvin To Kai-wang was part of a team which on Tuesday night was revealed to have successfully isolated Omicron – a clinical breakthrough in support of global efforts to develop an inactivated vaccine against the new variant.What do we […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Coronavirus: China reports 91 local Covid-19 cases, highest in nearly a month

By Reuters
China detected 91 domestically transmitted Covid-19 cases with confirmed symptoms for Tuesday, marking the highest daily count since November 2 and a significant jump from 21 cases a day earlier, as the country fights a fresh outbreak in the north.All the 91 local symptomatic cases were reported in the northern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia, data from the National Health Commission showed on Wednesday.Inner Mongolia reported a total of 132 local symptomatic cases during the November 28-30 […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Prosecutors demand death penalty for man charged with raping, killing 20-month-old baby

By Yonhap
  • This July 14, 2021, file photo shows a 29-year-old man, surnamed Yang, coming out of Dunsan Police Station in Daejeon, about 165 kilometers south of Seoul, after being investigated on charges of raping and killing a 20-month-old baby girl.
  • DAEJEON -- Prosecutors on Wednesday demanded the death penalty for a man charged with raping and killing the 20-month-old daughter of his live-in girlfriend.
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China ‘hunts’ Taiwan nationals through forced deportation: Report – Aljazeera.com

  • Beijing has been pressuring foreign governments to extradite Taiwan nationals to China as part of an effort to undermine the self-ruled island, says human rights group Safeguard Defenders, and the pressure has increased since Tsai Ing-wen was elected president five years ago.
  • Human rights group Safeguard Defenders says Beijing has pressured governments to deport at least 600 Taiwan nationals to the mainland instead of the self-ruled island.
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Both UN Official and US Amb. to UN Warn Israel Squatter Violence toward Palestinians is Escalating

By Juan Cole
  • On Tuesday, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, delivered alarming remarks to the United Nations Security Council about the dangers of an outbreak of further violence on the part of the Israeli state and its squatter-settlers toward the 5 million Palestinians they keep stateless and under brutal military occupation.
  • * “settlers and other Israeli civilians in the occupied West Bank perpetrated some 54 attacks against Palestinians, resulting in 26 injuries, including five children and damage to property.
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Christian Porter bemoans ‘harshness of politics’ as he announces he’ll quit parliament

By Paul Karp
  • Porter, the former attorney general and leader of the lower house, said on Wednesday he had decided not to recontest his West Australian seat of Pearce.
  • Porter has had a tumultuous year after he identified himself in March as the subject of an ABC story alleging an unidentified cabinet minister had been accused of rape in January 1988 in a dossier sent to Scott Morrison and three other parliamentarians.
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Brazil’s far-right Bolsonaro reaches for an unlikely title: President of the Poor

By Anthony Faiola
  • Yet even some of Bolsonaro’s critics concede the far-right leader should be credited with doing right, at least for a time, by Brazil’s poor during the pandemic — even if he appeared to do so in a reach for political gain.
  • Bolsonaro’s Auxílio Brasil, or Brazil Aid, program would beef up financial assistance to the less fortunate ahead of next year’s election.
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Belarus president offers to host Russian nuclear weapons as Moscow-Nato tensions mount

The long-time president of Belarus said that his country would be ready to host Russian nuclear weapons if Nato moves US atomic bombs from Germany to Eastern Europe.In an interview, President Alexander Lukashenko also said for the first time that he recognises the Crimean Peninsula as part of Russia and plans to visit it soon. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a move that the West regards as illegal.Lukashenko made the remarks on Tuesday as he moved to cement ties with Russia, his […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Taliban, Myanmar junta unlikely to be let into UN for now: Diplomats

  • The committee will likely defer its decisions on the representation of Afghanistan and Myanmar on the understanding that the current ambassadors for both countries remain in the seats, four diplomats told Reuters on the condition of anonymity.
  • Rival claims have been made for the seats of both countries with the Taliban and Myanmar's junta pitted against ambassadors appointed by the governments they ousted this year.
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What my 20 years in Afghanistan taught me about the Taliban – and how the west consistently underestimates them

By The Conversation
  • Once, during a visit to Kabul before the Taliban took power, I was shocked to see men in suits in offices and women working in the ministries.
  • But Mullah Omar was declared Amir ul-Mo’menin (Commander of the Faithful), giving him the religious and political authority to lead the Taliban to Kabul and to establish the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
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The “Graveyard Shift” in a Pandemic World: The Real Meaning of Supply-Chain Woes

By Rebecca Gordon
  • But Joe Biden and the rest of the Democrats know one thing: if it looks like they’re doing nothing to bring prices down, there will be hell to pay at the polls in 2022 and so it’s the night shift for dock workers and others in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and possibly other American ports.
  • In addition to demanding higher pay, better conditions, and an end to two-tier compensation systems (in which laborers hired later don’t get the pay and benefits available to those already on the job), workers are now in a position to reexamine and, in many cases, reject the shift-work system itself.
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Average of two girls aged 10 to 14 give birth daily in Paraguay, Amnesty finds

By William Costa in Asunción
  • An average of two girls between 10 and 14 give birth every day in Paraguay, thanks to a toxic combination of widespread child abuse and draconian abortion laws, according to a new Amnesty International report .
  • “By action and omission, Paraguay is turning its back on its girls and teenagers as they face unimaginable abuses,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.
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Questor: Omicron has sent the vaccine makers’ shares into orbit – except for this one

By Richard Evans
  • Sell everything on the basis that the market is being slow to cotton on to the danger, rather as it was in February last year, when it needed the virus’s arrival in Europe to make investors take notice?
  • While the share prices of some vaccine makers have shot up in the past few days – BioNTech has gained 14pc since before news of omicron and 54pc since our advice to hold three weeks ago, while Moderna, which we frustratingly advised readers to sell in January, is 27pc to the good since news of omicron – AstraZeneca has only continued a losing streak that began with the publication of its third-quarter results earlier this month.
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The Mississippi and Texas laws threatening abortion rights US – podcast

By Presented by Nosheen Iqbal with Jessica Glenza; produced by Courtney Yusuf, Hannah Moore , Alice Fordham, Eva Krafczyk, and Axel Kacoutié; executive producers Archie Bland and Mythili Rao
  • Guardian US health reporter Jessica Glenza has been reporting on laws that severely restrict abortion access in Mississippi and Texas; she tells Nosheen Iqbal that this is a ‘perilous moment’ for reproductive rights in the US.
  • According to recent polls, Americans overwhelmingly support Roe v Wade, the 1973 US supreme court ruling that protects a woman’s right to an abortion.
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Police: Close contacts used to draw out murder victims

By Radio Sweden
Police at the scene of a shooting in Ulvsunda, western Stockholm in September.Lyssna: Police: Close contacts used to draw out murder victimsSo far this year, 23 people have been shot dead in Stockholm – a region which stands out when it comes to fatal gun crime.Assignments to murder a person often involve someone the victim trusts, says Anna Rise, head of intelligence at police region Stockholm.Prosecutor Carl Mellberg heads several of the investigations and says: "In many of the cases, the objective is to kill the person, not to inflict injury."Henrika Åkermanhenrika.akerman@sverigesradio.seRadio […]Read more >Similar articles >
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From the archive: The ruthlessly effective rebranding of Europe’s new far right – podcast

By Written by Sasha Polakow-Suransky, read by Andrew McGregor, produced by Simon Barnard with additions by Esther Opoku-Gyeni

We are raiding the Audio Long Read archives to bring you some classic pieces from years past, with new introductions from the authors.

This week, from 2016: Across the continent, rightwing populist parties have seized control of the political conversation. How have they done it? By stealing the language, causes and voters of the traditional left. By Sasha Polakow-Suransky


Continue reading […]Read more >Similar articles >
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EXPLAINER: What are Colombia’s ex-FARC splinter groups?

By Astrin SuÁrez and Manuel Rueda | AP
  • The FARC holdouts newly designated by the United States as foreign terrorist organizations are the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army – known by the Spanish acronym of FARC-EP --- and Segunda Marquetalia.
  • After five decades of internal conflict that killed an estimated 26,000 people and forced more than 6 million to flee their homes, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia signed a peace deal in which 13,000 fighters gave up their weapons in exchange for numerous concessions from the government, including development programs for rural areas and the opportunity for former guerrilla leaders to participate in local politics and avoid time in prison.
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Germany’s designated chancellor backs COVID vaccine mandate

  • Germany's next chancellor said on Tuesday that he will back a proposal to mandate coronavirus vaccinations for everybody next year, but that lawmakers should be free to vote according to their conscience on the issue.
  • During their call, national and state leaders discussed new measures to curb the outbreak including restrictions on shopping for unvaccinated people and limiting crowds at soccer matches, along with possible moves toward a vaccine mandate for all.
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Climate danger grows in ‘vulnerable’ Myanmar after military coup – Aljazeera.com

  • There is increasing concern that Myanmar is at risk of a serious environmental crisis, as the generals who seized power in a coup on February 1 focus on cementing their control and shoring up their position by stepping up lucrative but devastating policies of exploiting the country’s vast natural wealth.
  • The NUG said it stuck with the overthrown NLD administration’s NDC for COP26 because they felt it had legitimacy from being drawn up by the government elected by the people, according to two senior officials at the NUG’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation who requested anonymity due to security reasons.
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S. Korea could make ‘big adjustments’ to virus measures over omicron variant: official

By Yonhap
  • South Korea could make "big adjustments" to its virus prevention measures if the number of omicron coronavirus variant cases spike in the country, a senior Cheong Wa Dae official said Wednesday.
  • "We discussed such an issue during a special virus response meeting presided over by President Moon Jae-in on Nov. 29," Park Soo-hyun, senior presidential secretary for communication, told a YouTube channel of a local news outlet.
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Killer Robots: Negotiate New Law to Protect Humanity

By Human Rights Watch
  • The 23-page report, “Crunch Time on Killer Robots: Why New Law Is Needed and How It Can Be Achieved,” by Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic, finds that international law should be strengthened and clarified to protect humanity from the dangers posed by weapons systems that select and engage targets without meaningful human control.
  • Countries will be meeting at the United Nations in Geneva in December 2021 to decide whether to begin negotiations to adopt new international law on lethal autonomous weapons systems, also known as “killer robots.”
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Moon hails cooperative movement’s role in promoting social responsibility

By Yonhap
  • "The spirit of corporate federations, which has become an important axis of the global economy, must become a value of our society and the world," Moon said at the opening ceremony of the 33rd World Cooperative Congress.
  • President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday lauded the cooperative movement's role in promoting social responsibility on a range of issues, including environment and society.
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London’s farewell to the Crystal Palace – archive, 1 December 1936

By From our London staff
  • The news was given out in one of the earlier news bulletins on the wireless, but long before that the flickering orange glow in the sky, which could be seen from Islington, Willesden, and even farther north and as far south as Haywards Heath, had begun to draw the crowds in hundreds of thousands, by bus and car and train.
  • Now and again through the orange glow an aeroplane, with its green and white lights, would show itself almost as if touching the top of one of the famous towers and then be lost in the blue of the moonlit sky.
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Older, unvaccinated people should delay travel, says WHO, as Omicron restrictions spread

By Virginia Harrison and agencies
  • The World Health Organization has said those not fully vaccinated who are vulnerable to Covid-19, including over-60s, should delay travel to areas with community transmission, as more countries imposed curbs to combat the spread of the new Omicron variant.
  • The United States will require stricter coronavirus testing at borders for all travellers, including returning Americans, amid Omicron variant concerns.
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Completion of spire for Merdeka 118, world’s second-tallest building, a ‘proud moment’ for Malaysia PM

  • In his opening speech, Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said he was proud to announce the completion of the tower spire amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • "This is not only a great achievement in the field of engineering, but also further strengthens Malaysia's position as a modern and developed country," he said at a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the tower's spire on Tuesday (Nov 30).
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Brazil and Japan report first cases of the omicron variant

  • Brazil and Japan joined the rapidly widening circle of countries to report cases of the omicron variant Tuesday, while new findings indicate the mutant coronavirus was already in Europe close to a week before South Africa sounded the alarm.
  • Brazil, which has recorded a staggering total of more than 600,000 COVID-19 deaths, reported finding the variant in two travellers returning from South Africa — the first known omicron cases in Latin America.
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Dutch parliament passes two motions backing Taiwan, Lithuania

  • Another motion, proposed by parliamentarians Ruben Brekelmans and Agnes Mulder, calls on the Dutch government to support its Lithuanian counterpart which is facing retaliatory measures launched by China over the Baltic state's decision to allow Taiwan to open a representative office in Lithuania with "Taiwan" in its official name.
  • On the motion concerning Taiwan, the Netherlands' Foreign Minister Ben Knapen has previously expressed his country's wish to lower cross-Strait tensions and do its best to achieve that via the European Union (EU).
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AWS to help auto makers remotely diagnose issues – Aljazeera.com

  • FleetWise enables customers, including auto suppliers and transportation providers such as Lyft and Uber, to collect, organize and transfer vehicle data to the cloud, while standardizing different data formats to simplify data analysis, according to Mike Tzamaloukas, general manager of AWS for Automotive.
  • FleetWise also was designed to complement data-driven services offered by auto makers, including General Motors Co’s OnStar and Ford Motor Co’s Ford Pro Intelligence, he said.
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Invasion of Taiwan by China would be ‘economic suicide,’ former PM Abe warns

By Isabel Reynolds
  • Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said China should be aware that any crisis with Taiwan would pull in Japan and its ally the United States, warning of a dire situation if Beijing takes military action against Taipei.
  • Delivering a speech by video to an audience in Taiwan on Wednesday, Abe said actions by an increasingly powerful China toward Japan and Taiwan were likely to become more complex, blurring the line between war and peace.
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Alice Sebold apologizes to man cleared of 1981 rape featured in her memoir

  • Sebold, who has not previously commented on Broadwater’s exoneration, said in her statement: “I am grateful that Mr Broadwater has finally been vindicated, but the fact remains that 40 years ago, he became another young Black man brutalized by our flawed legal system.
  • Sebold said she was struggling with the role she played “within a system that sent an innocent man to jail”.
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Warrant of arrest issued against elderly man accused of assaulting bus driver

  • Khan was on Wednesday handed two more charges - one count each of theft as well as an offence under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act over his alleged failure to don a mask properly on the bus.
  • An elderly man accused of assaulting a bus driver last month had a warrant of arrest issued against him after he failed to turn up in a district court on Wednesday (Dec 1).
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Why do Chinese crave stable government jobs over ‘inferior’ private and foreign firms?

By He Huifeng,Luna Sun
Over the past few years, Janet Peng’s parents have had to adjust their expectations for her career and that of her old sister, in line with the changing economic and social climate in China.With mum and dad being private entrepreneurs, they long had a certain career trajectory in mind for their children.Like many young people from affluent middle-class families in Shenzhen, China’s tech and financing hub, Peng’s sister went abroad for graduate studies after earning her university degree in 2014 […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Omicron variant spread in Europe before flights to Netherlands

  • The heavily mutated new coronavirus variant was in Europe several days earlier than previously known, health officials said on Tuesday (Nov 30), and the number of places where it has been found increased to at least 20, raising questions about whether the pandemic is about to surge once again.
  • Early evidence from South Africa indicates that Omicron, more than previous variants, is infecting people who had already had Covid-19, but that, too, requires rigorous testing.
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Fauci says COVID diverted resources from fighting AIDS

By Edith M. Lederer | AP
  • Fauci said in a recorded speech that much of what scientists and public health experts learned from their long investment in HIV/AIDS research “has been successfully applied to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said Tuesday the COVID-19 pandemic has diverted scientific and financial resources from the fight against AIDS, seriously impeding global efforts to achieve the U.N. goal of ending AIDS by 2030.
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Coronavirus digest: US to impose stricter testing for travelers

  • The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that it is working to tighten testing requirements for air travelers amid rising concerns about the new omicron variant .
  • In a statement issued late Tuesday, the CDC said it was working to revise its Global Testing Order "for travel as we learn more about the omicron variant; a revised order would shorten the timeline for required testing for all international air travelers to one day before departure to the United States."
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Coronavirus: Sydney braces for more Omicron cases; South Korea’s daily infections exceed 5,000 for first time

By Agencies
Australian authorities on Wednesday flagged another probable case of the Omicron Covid-19 variant in Sydney as they braced for more infections after at least two international travellers visited several locations in the city while likely infectious.Officials in New South Wales (NSW), home to Sydney, said initial testing “strongly indicates” a man in his 40s, who arrived from southern Africa on November 25, had been infected with the Omicron variant and had spent time in the community.“We […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Star’s defiant response over Perth fiasco

  • Missing out on a Test match in front of his friends and family in Perth would be “disappointing” for Cameron Green, but he knows that no matter where the fifth Ashes match is played, the Aussies will “stand up and perform”.
  • The likelihood of missing out on a Test in his home city grows by the day, but for Cameron Green, he knows the team will perform wherever they play.
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Staggering cost of Aussie housing

  • Australia’s housing market continues to surge, with prices lifting for the 14th consecutive month and the median home adding a staggering $126,700 in value over the past year.
  • CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman said the pick-up in listings, Covid-19 restrictions, affordability constraints, rising fixed mortgage interest rates and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority recently increasing the home loan serviceability buffer from 2.5 to 3 per cent had all combined to slow price momentum.
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Finland adopts nationwide remote work recommendation

THE GOVERNMENT of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) on Tuesday issued a nationwide remote-work recommendation after determining that additional measures and restrictions are necessary in several regions to rein in the coronavirus epidemic, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

“We’re in a race against the delta variant. It’s spreading faster than the vaccine uptake is rising,” said Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru (SDP).

[…]Read more >Similar articles >
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Cold front sends mercury to below 13 degrees in northern Taiwan

  • Taipei, Dec. 1 (CNA) A continental cold air mass sent temperatures around Taiwan plunging Wednesday to below 13 degrees Celsius in low-lying areas in New Taipei and Taoyuan, according to the Central Weather Bureau.
  • Temperatures in other areas in northern and central Taiwan and in Yilan County in the northeast fell to 13-15 degrees, while the rest of the island registered lows of 16-18 degrees, according to the CWB.
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Life expectancy of S. Koreans rises to 83.5 years in 2020

By Yonhap
  • The average life expectancy of South Korean babies born last year reached 83.5 years, more than seven years longer than two decades ago, data showed Wednesday, amid improved public awareness about health and a better medical system.
  • South Korea's life expectancies for men and women are 2.6 years and 3.3 years longer, respectively, than the average of the 38 member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
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Zara owner Inditex names founder’s daughter as chair

By Rupert Neate Wealth correspondent
  • Isla, who has been credited with leading Inditex’s global expansion into Spain’s largest company with a €88bn (£75bn) market value and almost 7,000 stores, said now was the right time to make the change as the company’s sales recovered to pre-pandemic levels.
  • “These changes that we are announcing today are very well thought out changes, which are part of a process within the company and we understand that now is the right time to address this new stage,” Isla said in a video news conference on Tuesday.
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HK scientists succeed in isolating Omicron variant

  • HONG KONG (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) Hong Kong scientists have succeeded in isolating Omicron variant from clinical specimens which will help in developing vaccines against the new Covid-19 strain, The Hong Kong University (HKU) said on Tuesday (Nov 30).
  • The team is also exploring opportunities for urgent development and production of inactivated whole virus vaccines, the HKU said.
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India, Pakistan and the Taliban working together

By MK Bhadrakumar
  • New Delhi has chosen instead to take the diplomatic initiative to engage Pakistan constructively, seeking transit facilities for transporting 50,000 metric tons of wheat as humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.
  • Without doubt, the positive Pakistani response has profound implications, since Islamabad is de facto facilitating the commencement of a constructive engagement between New Delhi and the Taliban authorities in Kabul.
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‘Crazy witch’: Premier quizzed on abuse probe

  • Annastacia Palaszczuk has stood by an investigation into a Queensland Health manager who was accused of insulting co-workers with derogatory names including “vinegar tits” and playing a sexually charged game rating female co-workers on whether he’d “root or boot” them.
  • The man was recently reinstated as a senior manager at Metro North and Health Service following a 12-month investigation after 11 women complained of a toxic work culture, according to the Courier-Mail .
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China ‘hunts’ Taiwan nationals through forced deportation: Report

  • Beijing has been pressuring foreign governments to extradite Taiwan nationals to China as part of an effort to undermine the self-ruled island, says human rights group Safeguard Defenders, and the pressure has increased since Tsai Ing-wen was elected president five years ago.
  • Human rights group Safeguard Defenders says Beijing has pressured governments to deport at least 600 Taiwan nationals to the mainland instead of the self-ruled island.
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Man given jail, caning for consorting with friend who smuggled firearm into S’pore

  • A man consorted with a fellow gang member who smuggled a pistol from Malaysia into Singapore to scare a rival group.
  • In what was the first case involving the illegal possession of a firearm since 2009, Ikram was sentenced to seven years and 10 months' jail with six strokes of the cane in March this year after he pleaded guilty to being in possession of the weapon.
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Joy as Fiji reopens borders to international tourists

  • Traditional dancers in grass skirts welcomed waving holidaymakers as Fiji opened its borders to international travellers Wednesday (Dec 1) for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic swept the globe and devastated its tourism-reliant economy.
  • Fiji Airways chief executive Andre Viljoen said it was a "momentous" occasion after a tough 20 months for the tropical destination, where tourism accounts for about 40 per cent of the economy.
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Japan, US could not stand by if China invaded Taiwan, ex-PM Shinzo Abe says

By Reuters
Japan and the United States could not stand by if China attacked Taiwan, and Beijing needs to understand this, former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday.Tensions over Taiwan have risen as President Xi Jinping seeks to assert China’s sovereignty claims against the democratically ruled island. Taiwan’s government says it wants peace, but will defend itself if needed.Speaking virtually to a forum organised by Taiwanese think tank the Institute for National Policy Research, Abe […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Xiomara Castro to become first female Honduran president after rival concedes

Honduras ruling party conceded defeat on Tuesday in presidential elections held two days earlier, giving victory to leftist opposition candidate Xiomara Castro and easing fears of another contested vote and violent protests.Tegucigalpa Mayor Nasry Asfura of the National Party said in a statement that he had personally congratulated Castro, despite only about half the voting tallies being counted from Sunday’s election.Castro had 53 per cent of the votes and Asfura 34 per cent, with 52 per cent […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Australia announces inquiry into tech giants – Aljazeera.com

  • Australia will conduct a wide-ranging parliamentary inquiry into the behaviour of the world’s largest technology companies and the need for new legislation, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday.
  • Raising the possibility of additional regulation, Morrison said on Wednesday that the new inquiry will have a wide scope, including asking the committee lawmakers to investigate the algorithms used by social media platforms, how the companies verify identification and age, and the extent to which restrictions on these are being enforced.
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China’s Skyrizon takes Ukraine to The Hague over failed Motor Sich bid

By Laura Zhou
A Chinese company is taking the Ukrainian government to an international tribunal, seeking US$4.5 billion in compensation over its scuttled attempt to take over an advanced aerospace company.Observers said the request for arbitration was rare and reflected a growing awareness among Chinese companies about resorting to the law under increased scrutiny on national security grounds.Beijing Skyrizon Aviation Industry Investment said its Chinese investors, including its founder Wang Jing, had filed […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Alberta Utilities Commission investigators want probe of ATCO dealings on TMX camps in B.C.

By The Canadian Press
  • It is alleged that ATCO Electric deliberately overpaid a B.C. First Nation by millions for work on a new transmission line in order to secure lucrative contracts providing construction camps for the Trans Mountain Expansion oil pipeline project
  • They allege ATCO Electric deliberately overpaid a British Columbia First Nation by millions for work on a new transmission line in order to secure lucrative contracts providing construction camps for the Trans Mountain Expansion oil pipeline project.
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Stocks sink on Powell’s hawkish taper remarks, Omicron alarm – Aljazeera.com

  • “The principal contributor to the decline in stock prices today is the Powell commentary, regarding the upcoming Fed meeting, about accelerating the tapering of their bond-buying programme, which obviously leads to the prospect that rate hikes come sooner next year,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.
  • Wall Street’s main indexes closed lower on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signalled that the United States central bank would consider speeding up its withdrawal of bond purchases as inflation risks increase, piling pressure onto a market already nervous about the latest COVID-19 variant.
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Accuser describes Maxwell and Epstein ensnaring and abusing her at 14

  • Testifying on Tuesday (Nov 30) in the sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the 14-year-old from Florida, now an adult identified in court only as Jane, described for jurors how what seemed like a chance encounter with Maxwell - the woman with the Yorkie - and Jeffrey Epstein led to years of sexual abuse.
  • As the first accuser to take the stand in Maxwell's trial, Jane painted a picture of how Maxwell and Epstein brought her into their lives, and how what seemed like mentorship and special treatment soon evolved into sexual abuse.
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Partnerships for Singapore media companies to reach global audience

  • Mrs Teo also said that six new South-east Asia co-productions will be supported with grants of up to $300,000 each under the IMDA's Talent Progression Programme (TPP), which helps companies with high-quality projects develop and produce them.
  • In a pre-recorded video message, delivered to online and in-person attendees at Marina Bay Sands, Mrs Teo, currently on a work trip in London, said that more than 80 local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and over 500 media professionals are expected to benefit from the two partnerships.
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Little progress made to combat anti-Indigenous racism in B.C. health care: report

By Brieanna Charlebois
  • “The province remains absolutely committed to implementing all 24 recommendations of In Plain Sight, and we will continue to work together with Indigenous Peoples, all orders of government, health-system partners, individuals, service providers, regulatory bodies and health-system leadership to make this commitment a reality,” he said.
  • A progress report on a plan to address anti-Indigenous racism in British Columbia’s health-care system says Aboriginal patients continue to disproportionately die as a result of the impacts of racism and the two ongoing public-health emergencies.
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Australia announces inquiry into tech giants

  • Australia will conduct a wide-ranging parliamentary inquiry into the behaviour of the world’s largest technology companies and the need for new legislation, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday.
  • Raising the possibility of additional regulation, Morrison said on Wednesday that the new inquiry will have a wide scope, including asking the committee lawmakers to investigate the algorithms used by social media platforms, how the companies verify identification and age, and the extent to which restrictions on these are being enforced.
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Vile threat that made leader choke up

  • Mr Gunner, who was not aware of the veteran’s Facebook post, said he strongly supported the person’s views and then revealed he too had threats made against him.
  • Michael Gunner was first asked if he was aware of Facebook posts written by a veteran who criticised protesters for playing The Last Post at an anti-vaccination rally and became the subject of threats and abuse.
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Auckland homeowners to pay $1.10 a week under ‘climate tax’ plan to green the city

By Tess McClure in Christchurch
  • Homeowners in New Zealand’s largest city will have to chip in around a dollar a week to plant urban forests, pave cycle lanes and reduce Auckland’s emissions, under the city’s proposal for one of the world’s first climate-targeted rates.
  • Auckland’s mayor, Phil Goff, announced plans on Wednesday for a billion-dollar climate package to reshape the city’s infrastructure and reduce its carbon emissions, investing in electric ferries, cycling and walkways, and urban forests.
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David Littleproud pushed to water down alcohol regulation

By Dana Daniel
  • The letter called for the FSANZ board to include more industry representatives and responsibility for food regulation be taken away from the Department of Health and moved to Mr Littleproud’s Agriculture portfolio.
  • Food Minister Richard Colbeck’s industry correspondence was also tabled in the Senate, including a joint letter from Alcohol Beverages Australia, the Australian Beverages Council, the Australian Food and Grocery Council and the National Farmers’ Federation, calling for FSANZ to be stripped of its powers.
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Slumping Raptors fall to Grizzlies as homestand continues

By Ryan Wolstat
  • Nurse said the absences haven’t only hit the offence hard, they’ve also forced players to play out of position and limited what the Raptors can do against big men.
  • “Any game where we’ve had both (Birch and Achiuwa) have been good games for us rebounding wise, rim protection wise, and minutes wise because it allows us kind of a rotate the other guys down a position, nobody has to bump up,” Nurse said.
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Face masks on ski lifts and booster shots: France’s new rules for winter season

By Lauren Walker
Those planning a trip to France’s mountains for a (ski) holiday during the winter break will face new coronavirus measures, the French Government announced on Monday. The coronavirus health pass (or “pass sanitaire”) is the French equivalent of Belgium’s Covid Safe Ticket (CST) and since the summer is required to enter most indoor establishments including […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Alberta Utilities Commission investigators want probe of ATCO dealings on Trans Mountain Expansion camps

By Bob Weber
  • They allege ATCO Electric deliberately overpaid a British Columbia First Nation by millions for work on a new transmission line in order to secure lucrative contracts providing construction camps for the Trans Mountain Expansion oil pipeline project.
  • Investigators go on in the document to allege senior ATCO staff knew the contract violated the company’s own code of conduct and provincial law, which forbids regulated companies from making large sole-source deals.
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EU makes late bid to rival China on the Silk Road

By Stuart Lau, Paola Tamma, Joshua Posaner
  • More than 3,000 days after President Xi Jinping came up with a plan in 2013 to invest massively in critical infrastructure like railways and harbors that connect China to the rest of the world, EU officials have finally come up with an alternative scheme.
  • Insisting Europe’s €300 billion pledge was not to be sniffed at, Jonathan Hillman, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and author of two books on the Belt and Road Initiative, said the EU spending could be “comparable” to Beijing’s financial commitment.
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Genesis Unveils Revamped G90 Sedan

By Kim A-sa ( )
Genesis on Tuesday unveiled a fully revamped G90 sedan, which was launched in 2018 as a face-lifted version of the EQ 900.The new G90 features the signature two-line headlights and the front grille has become more sportily curvaceous. The automaker hopes to appeal to a younger demographic in their 3 […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Top Sudan general warns country could be source of refugee influx to Europe

By Matei Rosca
  • Senior General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo told POLITICO that Europe and the U.S have little choice but to support the latest government to avert a refugee crisis — and he noted that Sudan’s borders are kept in check by the military, which is coming under criticism from the West for staging a coup.
  • Last week, however, Hamdok was restored to his post under an agreement between the military and civilian government — a deal that failed to quell pro-democracy protests in Sudan and left western allies uneasy.
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China should think twice about Taiwan invasion: Abe

  • Taipei, Dec. 1 (CNA) A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would pose a serious threat to the security of Japan and the Japan-United States alliance, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned Wednesday and urged China to think twice before taking military action.
  • "Based on the same idea, I support Taiwan's participation in the TPP," he said, using the CPTPP's former name, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to refer to the trade bloc.
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Tel Aviv overtakes Hong Kong, Paris and Zurich as most expensive city to live in

By Martin Farrer and agencies
  • Tel Aviv has been ranked the world’s most expensive city to live in thanks to the rapid rise in inflation that has pushed up the cost of a whole range of goods and services across the world in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Upasana Dutt, head of worldwide cost of living at the EIU, said: “We can clearly see the impact in this year’s index, with the rise in petrol prices particularly stark,” adding that while central banks are expected to raise interest rates cautiously, reducing inflation.
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U.S. Stations Artillery Division in Korea

  • The U.S. is permanently stationing an attack helicopter squadron and an artillery headquarters in South Korea to deter North Korea, the Pentagon said Monday.
  • Pentagon official Mara Karlin, told reporters, "Consistent with the secretary's focus on China as our pacing challenge, the priority region for the Global Posture Review was the Indo Pacific."
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All new cars in Hong Kong could be electric by 2030, five years ahead of schedule, environment official says

By Eric Ng
All new cars in Hong Kong could be electric by as early as 2030 – five years ahead of the government’s target - given their accelerating penetration globally, according to a senior environment official.The government is stepping up policy support to lift the take-up of emission-free vehicles, including subsidies for electric car purchases and private charging infrastructure, said Owin Fung Ho-yin, deputy director of the Environment Protection Department.“When we set the target early this year, […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Vaccine waiver is a moment of truth for EU values

By Mary Robinson
  • In the wake of the discovery of the Omicron variant and the risk it represents, the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) deadlock over a TRIPS intellectual property waiver on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments is simply unconscionable.
  • By temporarily removing legal barriers preventing developing countries from producing billions of vaccines and treatments through qualified manufacturers, the waiver would suspend the monopoly control of pharmaceutical corporations, which guarantees them eye-watering profits while sacrificing lives.
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Existing vaccines probably ‘less effective against new variant,’ says Moderna CEO

By Lauren Walker
The current coronavirus vaccines are likely to be less effective against the new Omicron variant of the virus, the CEO of American pharmaceutical company and vaccine developer Moderna has said. The variant, which was first detected in South Africa, has prompted border closures and countries imposing stricter travel measures. Health experts are scientifically analysing the […]Read more >Similar articles >
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France issues arrest warrant for Japanese woman over parental kidnap

  • A Paris court has issued an international arrest warrant for the Japanese wife of a French national for alleged abductions after she ran off with their two children and refused to let him see them, sources close to the matter said Tuesday.
  • The Frenchman, 39-year-old Vincent Fichot, made headlines in the summer when he staged a hunger strike near National Stadium ahead of the Tokyo Olympics to raise awareness of the issue, which Japanese police did not investigate.
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Honduras’ ruling party candidate concedes presidential election – Aljazeera.com

  • Nasry Asfura, the ruling party candidate in the Honduras election, has conceded to his opposition rival, Xiomara Castro, who will become the country’s first female president and the first left-wing leader in the country for 12 years.
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Castro on her “historic victory” and said Washington was ready to work with in the incoming government.
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Honduras’ ruling party candidate concedes presidential election

  • Nasry Asfura, the ruling party candidate in the Honduras election, has conceded to his opposition rival, Xiomara Castro, who will become the country’s first female president and the first left-wing leader in the country for 12 years.
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Castro on her “historic victory” and said Washington was ready to work with in the incoming government.
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China’s silence on Peng Shuai shows limits of Beijing’s propaganda

  • On China's social media platforms and other digital public squares, the censors' meticulous work has left almost no sign that Ms Peng had ever accused Mr Zhang Gaoli, a former vice premier, of sexual assault.
  • He said in a recent interview that he saw the state media's gradual release of photos and videos of Ms Peng as evidence that Beijing was monitoring her movements mainly to silence her while waiting for the outcry to die down.
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Omicron variant: are vaccine passports discriminatory, or needed more than ever for Hong Kong to weather potential Covid-19 onslaught?

By Rachel Yeo,Victor Ting
A proposal by Hong Kong authorities to introduce vaccine passports and ban unvaccinated people from venues such as restaurants has run into stiff opposition from across society, including business owners, legal experts and elderly groups.They said the idea was unfair and could undermine elderly residents’ mental health, while some warned the policy could hammer operating revenues by as much as 30 per cent.Health experts, however, argued the potential move was justified, as unvaccinated diners […]Read more >Similar articles >
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As new Surrey city cops hit the streets, mayor hits back at critics

By Dan Fumano
  • Hardwick’s statement said: “The fact that so few Surrey RCMP are moving to the SPS means (Surrey Mayor) Doug McCallum is doing everything he can to recruit from other police departments, and that is a serious problem for public safety.”
  • SPS Chief Norm Lipinski said Surrey’s transition from Canada’s largest RCMP detachment to a municipal police department, a shift he described as “unprecedented in Canada” in its magnitude, is progressing as planned.
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9 foreigners to receive honorary Seoul citizenship for contributions, acts of good will

By Yonhap
  • This photo, provided by the Seoul city government on Wednesday, shows Justin John Harvey, who is to be awarded honorary Seoul citizenship for rescuing a person attempting suicide at the Han River.
  • TV personality Justin John Harvey from South Africa and eight other foreigners will receive honorary Seoul citizenship Wednesday in recognition of their contributions to the city and good deeds, the city government said.
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U.S. fighter jet dumps fuel tanks before emergency landing in Japan

  • A U.S. F-16 fighter jet belonging to Misawa Air Base dumped two fuel tanks Tuesday evening before making an emergency landing at Aomori Airport, the Defense Ministry and local authorities said.
  • The 35th Fighter Wing of the Misawa base said an F-16 fighter jet experienced trouble during flight and its pilot jettisoned fuel tanks into an unpopulated area around Mount Iwaki in Aomori Prefecture.
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Global luxury giants LVMH, Hermes eye expansion on China’s Hainan Island in blow to shopping hotspot Hong Kong

By Iris Ouyang
In a blow for Hong Kong, global luxury goods companies such as LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), Hermes and Richemont are exploring opportunities in China’s Hainan province, as they eye expansion in the world’s second largest luxury market.While LVMH and Hermes were eyeing new stores in the province, Richemont was investing more in Hainan and was planning to expand its local team, according to sources. Any pivot to Hainan will coincide with store closures in Hong Kong and could have a […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Natl. security adviser to visit China amid push to declare formal end to Korean War

By Yonhap
  • National security adviser Suh Hoon will visit China this week to meet with Beijing's top diplomat, Cheong Wa Dae said Wednesday, as Seoul pushes to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.
  • Suh will visit the northeastern port city of Tianjin on Thursday and Friday at the invitation of Chinese Communist Party foreign affairs chief Yang Jiechi, the presidential office said.
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B.C. government criticized for slow flood aid response

By Andrea Woo Nathan VanderKlippe
  • The chair of British Columbia’s Fraser Valley Regional District is criticizing the province’s response to pleas for assistance during the floods, saying an urgent request for funding to shore up a road near Hope, B.C., was ignored until it was too late.
  • At a news conference on Tuesday, Mr. Lum said the district’s Emergency Operations Centre issued an urgent request to Emergency Management BC (EMBC) on Nov. 24 for $1.5-million to shore up Othello Road, which was put at risk by the rising Coquihalla River.
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Shell won’t abandon green transition in face higher oil prices, says CEO

  • The oil and gas market may be tightening amid historically low investment levels, but that won't change Royal Dutch Shell Plc's strategy to shift from fossil fuels, the firm's chief executive said on Tuesday (Nov 30).
  • While some critics have raised concerns that high oil prices might tempt these firms to stick to fossil fuels, chief executive Ben van Beurden said Shell is adhering to its energy transition strategy.
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Court questions ex-lawmaker to determine arrest over bribery in development scandal

By Yonhap
  • A Seoul court questioned a former opposition lawmaker Wednesday to determine whether to approve an arrest warrant for him on charges of accepting bribes in the form of severance pay for his son from an asset firm at the center of a massive development corruption scandal.
  • Kwak Sang-do quit the main opposition People Power Party and ultimately gave up his parliamentary seat following revelations that his son received 5 billion won ($4.2 million) in severance pay from Hwacheon Daeyu Asset Management.
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China’s diesel exports set to climb after averting supply crisis, domestic stock ‘to build over winter’

By Bloomberg
China has averted a full-scale diesel crisis after refiners quickly ramped up production, with excess supply poised to flow into a regional market starved of the industrial fuel.Top processors China National Petroleum Corporation and China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, better known as Sinopec, started boosting production in September under government coordination as demand surged following a broader energy crunch.While some fuel retailers were forced to ration diesel volumes and at least […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Arctic rainfall could dominate snowfall earlier than expected: Study

  • Comparing the latest projections to previous climate models, the study published in the scientific journal Nature Communications estimates the switch from snowfall-dominated annual precipitation to one dominated by rain will come about "one or two decades earlier".
  • Rainfall could start replacing snowfall in the Arctic decades sooner than previously thought, a study published on Tuesday (Nov 30) said, warning the change caused by global warming could have effects beyond the region.
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China’s factory activity weighed down by coronavirus-induced weak demand, slips back into contraction

By Reuters
China’s factory activity fell back into contraction in November as subdued demand, shrinking employment and elevated prices weighed on manufacturers, a business survey showed on Wednesday.The Caixin/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 49.9 in November from 50.6 the month before, versus analyst expectations of 50.5 in a Reuters poll. The 50-mark separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.The world’s second-largest economy, which staged an impressive rebound […]Read more >Similar articles >
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China’s rising ultranationalism complicates Xi’s climate ambitions

  • Days after the COP26 climate summit last month, the Global Times, a Communist Party mouthpiece that tends to reflect its more extreme positions, posted an article accusing Western media and local NGOs of working together to “smear China’s climate policies” and “use the climate agenda to squash China.”
  • Sailei has also posted videos attacking green nongovernmental organizations in China for “carrying out the Western agenda” that have garnered million of views and been endorsed by official accounts belonging to the Chinese army and Communist Youth League.
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Why Paine successor never lost faith

  • Despite only scoring over 50 runs just once in his last eight Sheffield Shield appearances, Alex Carey knows “it takes one innings to turn all that around” as he prepares to make his Test debut against England at the Gabba.
  • The South Australian has played for Australia in the white-ball format and even captained the side in an ODI against the West Indies in July this year, so he’ll certainly know what’s expected of him when he steps up to the plate in Test cricket.
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Hong Kong Disneyland, Operation Santa Claus team up to bring Christmas cheer to underprivileged children with creative workshop

By Ziyu Zhang
Mickey Mouse, the beloved Disney character, was given new life through drawings by children from underprivileged Hong Kong families at a creative workshop held last month.Forty-five children were invited to the session hosted by Hong Kong Disneyland Resort on November 20, where they learned how to illustrate Disney’s most famous mascot with the help of simple, step-by-step instructions from an artist and a sign language teacher.The children were supported by three local charities listed among […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Climate danger grows in ‘vulnerable’ Myanmar after military coup

  • There is increasing concern that Myanmar is at risk of a serious environmental crisis, as the generals who seized power in a coup on February 1 focus on cementing their control and shoring up their position by stepping up lucrative but devastating policies of exploiting the country’s vast natural wealth.
  • The NUG said it stuck with the overthrown NLD administration’s NDC for COP26 because they felt it had legitimacy from being drawn up by the government elected by the people, according to two senior officials at the NUG’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation who requested anonymity due to security reasons.
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South Korea reports daily record of over 5,000 new Covid-19 infections

  • South Korea reported a new daily record of 5,123 new coronavirus cases, as the country battles to contain a sharp rise in patients with severe symptoms and stave off the Omicron variant, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Wednesday (Dec 1).
  • Hospitals were treating a record number of 723 patients with severe Covid-19 that require ICU beds, as the authorities scrambled to secure more.
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S. Korea’s Marine Corps launches aircraft group

By Yonhap
  • In preparation for the group's launch, the Marine Corps received two units of the MUH-1 Marineone, a variant of the KUH-1 Surion helicopter, in 2017, and plans to procure a total of 28 units by 2023.
  • South Korea's Marine Corps launched an aircraft group Wednesday to bolster the defense of border islands and wartime capabilities for landing operations, its officials said.
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Australia raises possibility of more legislation on tech giants with new inquiry

  • Raising the possibility of additional regulation, Mr Morrison said on Wednesday that the new inquiry will have a wide scope, including asking the committee lawmakers to investigate the algorithms used by social media platforms, how the companies verify identification and age and the extent to which restrictions on these are being enforced.
  • When Australia proposed legislation forcing both companies to pay local media for news content, Google threatened to close its Australian search engine, while Facebook cut all third-party content from Australian accounts for more than a week.
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Peter McKnight: Every day the province doesn’t ban conversion therapy is another day lives are needlessly at risk

By Hardip Johal
  • Opinion: Five other provinces have implemented bans on conversion therapy without waiting for the federal government to act
  • According to a study led by Simon Fraser University social epidemiologist Travis Salway, 10 per cent of the more than 9,000 Canadian men surveyed between 2019 and 2020 reported having experienced conversion therapy practices (CTP).
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A merry Christmas for Marcos Jr: Inquirer contributor

  • While Isko Moreno cleverly put himself forward to replace Go as the President's anointed, the new commercial of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., which began airing in time for the Bonifacio Day holiday, maintains the forward trajectory of his campaign.
  • One has to wonder if the Marcosian shift to blue from red has something to do with the colour wheel and pink, but if it does, the quality of the most recent Marcos Jr. ad is in stark contrast to the commercial of the vice-president.
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’Devil’ woman stabbed ex-lover 58 times

  • Zixi “Jessy” Wang argued in court that she should be freed from jail early after she was sentenced to spend at least 19 years behind bars for the bloody and shocking murder of her ex-girlfriend Shuyu “Lianne” Zhou in June 2019.
  • A woman who mercilessly stabbed and slashed her former lover to death 58 times as she lay helpless and clinging to life following a terrifying fall from an inner Sydney balcony has lost her fight to be released from prison early.
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Lovely Bones author Alice Sebold apologises to man wrongfully jailed 16 years for her rape in 1981

Author Alice Sebold publicly apologised Tuesday to the man who was exonerated last week in the 1981 rape that was the basis for her memoir Lucky and said she was struggling with the role she played “within a system that sent an innocent man to jail”.Anthony Broadwater, 61, was convicted in 1982 of raping Sebold when she was a student at Syracuse University. He served 16 years in prison. His conviction was overturned November 22 after prosecutors re-examined the case and determined there were […]Read more >Similar articles >
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China basks in ‘COVID zero’ vindication as omicron closes borders

  • Other countries embracing new travel and border restrictions raises questions about whether China’s strategy may offer a better defense from newly emerging variants, particularly in the early days when their risk isn’t fully understood and the guarantee of an exit from the COVID-19 pandemic is far from certain.
  • Countries across the world scrambled this week to impose border and travel curbs after the new omicron variant emerged.
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China wanted to ‘drive Australia to its knees’, Biden’s Indo-Pacific adviser says

By Reuters
China is conducting “dramatic economic warfare” against Australia and has tried to “break” the US ally, contributing to increased anxiety about Beijing in the region, the White House’s Indo-Pacific coordinator, Kurt Campbell, said in a speech to a Sydney think tank on Wednesday.US President Joe Biden raised the treatment of Australia, which has been subject to trade reprisals by Beijing, in his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping as an example of behaviour that was backfiring because Xi’s […]Read more >Similar articles >
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South Korea’s daily virus jump exceeds 5,000 for first time

By By Kim Tong-Hyung | AP
  • The spread has forced the government from taking further steps to ease social distancing, but officials have so far resisted calls to restore stricter gathering rules, citing economic concerns and people’s fatigue and frustration over extended virus restrictions.
  • With the spread threatening to overwhelm hospital capacities, health experts have called for officials to reimpose stricter social distancing rules that were eased last month to soften the pandemic’s impact on the economy.
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Lifting sanctions key to reviving Iran deal: China Daily

  • As party to the Iran talks, China has always been committed to upholding the comprehensive Iran nuclear agreement and intensively communicated and coordinated with Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the US and the European Union to promote the resumption of the negotiations.
  • Iran's new negotiating team has set demands for the revival of the nuclear agreement, including the removal of all US sanctions, a verification mechanism for the removal of the embargo, and guarantees from Washington that future administrations will not breach the deal.
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Mrazek getting closer to return to Maple Leafs crease, but not before convo with Clifford

By Terry Koshan
  • When Mrazek, then with the Carolina Hurricanes, darted from his crease to play the puck, Clifford unintentionally ran him over, resulting in Mrazek’s departure from the game with an injury, and the NHL debut of Ayres.
  • Chances are good the majority of hockey fans still wouldn’t know David Ayres from their local arena Zamboni driver had Clifford and Mrazek not smashed into each other during a game at Scotiabank Arena on Feb. 22, 2020.
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Hunger increased by 30 percent in Latin America since 2019: UN – Aljazeera.com

  • Along with the people who are going hungry in absolute terms, four out of every 10 people in Latin America and the Caribbean – 267 million people – experienced moderate or severe food insecurity in 2020, said the UN report.
  • The number of hungry people in Latin America and the Caribbean has risen by 30 percent since 2019 to reach its highest level in 15 years, a coalition of United Nations agencies said, calling the situation “critical”.
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