Jun 20, 2021

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‘Mistakes need to be dealt with’: anger in South Africa as third wave hits

By Jason Burke in Soweto
  • Governments across Africa are scrambling to reinforce health systems and accelerate vaccine drives as a third wave of Covid-19 infections threatens to overwhelm hospitals and kill tens of thousands of people.
  • South Africa had many advantages over other African countries before the Covid crisis: a greater ability to borrow money, a more extensive public health system reinforced by a large private sector, world-class scientists and long experience of dealing with pandemics.
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Coronavirus: Hong Kong’s first patients found locally with mutated strain admit providing false information to officials

By Gigi Choy
Hong Kong’s first Covid-19 patient found locally with a mutated strain of the coronavirus pleaded guilty on Monday to six counts of providing false information to officials tasked with tracing related infections.Syed Mohamed Rizvi’s friend Victoria Marie Alcaide Guadiz also admitted to one count of providing false information to authorities after they were both infected with the Beta, or B.1.351, coronavirus variant first found in South Africa.The pair, who entered their pleas at Kowloon City […]Read more >Similar articles >
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The Wealthy Countries are getting Past the Pandemic, but the Poor are in Catastrophe, which is a looming Catastrophe for the Wealthy

By Tomdispatch
  • Lately, the place that’s been hit the hardest by Covid-19 is the global south where countries are particularly ill-prepared.
  • Other parts of the global south have also been hit by surging infections, including countries in Asia which had previously contained Covid-19’s spread, among them Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
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Ex-president Karzai says US failed in Afghanistan, ‘total disgrace and disaster’

Afghanistan’s former president said the United States came to his country to fight extremism and bring stability to his war-tortured nation and is leaving nearly 20 years later having failed at both.In an interview with Associated Press just weeks before the last US and Nato troops leave Afghanistan, ending their “forever war”, Hamid Karzai said extremism is at its “highest point” and the departing troops are leaving behind a disaster.“The international community came here 20 years ago with […]Read more >Similar articles >
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China tells its nationals to leave Afghanistan urgently as violence spirals

By Sarah Zheng
Beijing has warned Chinese nationals to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible, amid a rapid rise in violence in the country as the Taliban recaptures territories ahead of the complete withdrawal of US and Nato troops.China’s embassy in Afghanistan said on Saturday that Chinese citizens and organisations needed to take additional precautions and strengthen their emergency preparedness in the face of the deteriorating situation.“This year, the conflicts in Afghanistan are constant, the terrorist […]Read more >Similar articles >
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China’s unemployment rate dips, but numbers belie structural problems keeping graduates out of work

By Bloomberg
China’s unemployment rate has steadily dropped from last year’s pandemic peak, though a lack of jobs for graduates and a shortage of skilled manufacturing workers point to underlying problems in the labour market.The urban jobless rate fell to a two-year low of 5 per cent in May, official data showed last week, but unemployment for those between the ages of 16 and 24 – which captures graduates from high school and college – was more than double that, at 13.8 per cent.Anecdotal reports suggest a […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Covid-19 live updates: China passes 1 billion vaccinations amid tightened curbs, questions on shots’ efficacy

By Katerina Ang
  • China has administered more than 1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines, a state health body said, marking a milestone for one of the world’s fastest inoculation drives even as questions persist about how much protection against symptomatic infection Chinese-developed shots offer.
  • Beijing has offered other countries tens of millions of doses as part of a “vaccine diplomacy” competition with Washington, though reports have emerged in Brazil of people turning down available Sinovac shots in hope of receiving Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
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Letters to the Editor, June 21

  • Thank you, Candice Malcolm, for your excellent and sane appraisal of what is happening in this country (“Celebrate Canada’s history — don’t appease the woke mob,” June 14).
  • Was it right, no, of course not, and maybe if they were alive today, they’d know better, but it is what it is.
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8 superb spa hotels that teens and young adults will love

By Hattie Garlick
  • Spa breaks can’t fix everything, yet for parents welcoming frazzled teenagers home from grotty student houses and disappointing terms, a weekend away for some relaxation, self care and togetherness is not a bad place to start.
  • Just outside my hotel Piccadilly Circus is roaring with energy, but my 19-year-old niece and I have sunk into cloud-soft loungers in a scented subterranean world of the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre, one of the capital’s very finest spas in the basement of Hotel Café Royal.
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Tokyo Olympic organizers to decide on spectator limits

  • The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will hold an online meeting Monday during which they are expected to agree on allowing up to 10,000 spectators at venues during this summer’s games, providing the number does not exceed 50% of capacity, amid persistent concern about the spread of the coronavirus.
  • The organizers have said they will apply the Japanese government’s policy on spectator caps at large events to the Olympics, implying they will allow 50% of venue capacity or up to 10,000 fans, whichever is smaller.
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Taiwan falls to China in FIBA Asian basketball qualifiers finale

  • Taipei, June 21 (CNA) The men's national basketball team of Taiwan fell to Asian powerhouse China by 18 points on Sunday in their second matchup in the Philippines and Taiwan's third and final game in the third window for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
  • Taiwan's 203cm center Jonah Morrison, the only national team player over 200cm in height, said after the defeat that the team played much better than in their first game against China.
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Attacks in Mexican border town kill at least 14 people

By Paulina Villegas
  • A spokesman for Tamaulipas state’s secretary of public security said Sunday that the attackers may be members of a splinter faction of the Gulf Cartel, which has a presence in large swaths of the state that borders Texas.
  • The State Coordinating Group for Peace Building in Tamaulipas, an agency coordinating security forces and law enforcement, said the attacks began early in the afternoon, when shooters in vehicles attacked several neighborhoods in Reynosa, 10 miles south of McAllen, Tex.
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Parcel shipments rise 27% in Seoul last year due to COVID-19

By Yonhap
  • The study found that parcel deliveries for household and health products, such as hand sanitizers and masks, showed the biggest on-year increase of 52 percent last year, while the volume of online food delivery surged 46 percent.
  • Exceptionally, however, the volume of maternity and baby care products handled by local courier service providers last year decreased 19 percent from the previous year, the study said, adding Seoul's birthrate dropped from 0.72 to 0.64 in the 2019-2020 period.
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Cabby who hit and then drove into pedestrian jailed, disqualified from driving for 1 year

  • The court heard that on March 19, 2018 at about 9.32pm, Hui, who was a taxi driver with Transcab, drove to the drop-off point at the Intercontinental Singapore Robertson Quay and hit Mr Dirk Eduard Gustaaf Motman's right elbow with the taxi's side mirror.
  • A taxi driver who hit a pedestrian's elbow with his car's side mirror drove into him again, as the man was trying to photograph the front side of the vehicle following the incident.
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S. Korea, Japan to hold working-level talks on wartime history, other issues

By Yonhap
  • South Korea and Japan will hold working-level talks in Seoul later Monday to discuss a prolonged row over wartime sexual slavery, forced labor and other pending issues, the foreign ministry said.
  • Lee Sang-ryeol, director general for Asia and Pacific affairs at Seoul's foreign ministry (L), and Takehiro Funakoshi, director general for Asian and Oceanian affairs at Japan's foreign ministry, are seen at a hotel in Tokyo after holding bilateral working-level talks on April 1, 2021.
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Sydney’s COVID-19 cluster grows to 11 amid fears over ‘scaringly fleeting’ transmission

  • Further public health measures designed to quell the outbreak were announced on Sunday, including mandatory face masks in indoor settings across seven local government areas in Sydney.
  • Two new coronavirus cases have been detected in New South Wales, taking the number of cases linked to a Sydney cluster to 11, as Premier Gladys Berejiklian warns of incidents of transmission from "scaringly fleeting" contact.
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Horror US road crash leaves 9 children dead

By Agence France-Presse
Nine children and an adult were killed in a fiery multi-vehicle crash on an Alabama highway as heavy storms lashed the southeastern US, authorities said Sunday.Saturday’s crash on an interstate highway near the city of Greenville involved at least 15 vehicles and was “probably” caused by hydroplaning under torrential rains, Butler County coroner Wayne Garlock said.Storm Claudette dumped up to 30cm of rain in the Gulf coast region Saturday. It was blamed for at least two other deaths.The dead in […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Family and rights advocates concerned for 83-year-old Australian detained in Iranian prison

  • "We also urge Australian authorities to request access to Mr Jebeli’s trial because his family has concerns not only about his health, but about the adequacy of his legal representation as well as the likelihood of a fair hearing," Ms White said.
  • Amnesty International Australia campaigner Nikita White said the health risk during the pandemic is heightened for Mr Jebeli due to his age and multiple medical conditions.
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No big crowds as dining in resumes for groups of 2 in S’pore but patrons glad Covid-19 curbs eased

  • Diners at the Clementi 448 Market & Food Centre and the Clementi Kopitiam also told ST that they were relieved to return to the convenience of dining in, and felt that the current measures were reasonable in helping to curb the spread of Covid-19.
  • While the restrictions have now been lifted, he said that he and his family will continue to eat at home more often than dining in, as half of them are still working from home.
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Redhill residents to undergo mandatory Covid-19 testing after viral fragments detected in wastewater

  • "In the event that a positive Covid-19 case is detected, MOH will isolate the case, identify all close contacts, test and quarantine them to protect the community from further transmission," said the ministry.
  • The Ministry of Health said on Monday (June 21) that it is investigating likely Covid-19 transmission in Redhill following the finding.
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Value of household chores up 36% in 2019 from 5 years earlier

By Yonhap
  • The value of household chores grew nearly 36 percent in 2019 from five years earlier, with men's participation in such work rising amid an increase in one-person households and double income families, data showed Monday.
  • The value of household work, such as child care, meal preparations and cleaning, came to 490.9 trillion won ($433 billion) in 2019, compared with 361.5 trillion won in 2014, according to the data from Statistics Korea.
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Gaza’s Summer: Destruction, Pandemic, and Climate Change

By Al-Shabaka
  • 4 As a result, and with limited water and electricity, women in Gaza reported an increase in household tensions and psychological stresses associated with caregiving and housework, including bathing and cleaning their children, trying to keep their children hydrated, and caring for those with heat-related illnesses.
  • The besieged enclave also must deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has been spreading at an alarming rate, especially during the recent Israeli aggression which displaced tens of thousands of people to crowded spaces, including in relatives’ homes and in schools, thus increasing the risk of spreading and contracting the virus.
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S’pore to relook long-term approach to land use, planning; engagement for review to start July, says Desmond Lee

  • The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of being adaptable in city planning, and for Singapore to have land that can be easily converted to other uses, said National Development Minister Desmond Lee.
  • In the longer term, the country will have to review its broader approach to land use and city planning as the pandemic has impacted many aspects of the way people live, work and play, he added on Monday (June 21).
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Coronavirus live news: US delays easing of land border restrictions; Japan to rule on allowing fans at Olympics

By Helen Sullivan
  • Dr Susan Hopkins, one of the key government advisers on the response to the pandemic, said a decision would be made after the results of a study that uses daily lateral flow tests as an alternative to isolation for 10 days after coming into contact with a positive case.
  • More than half of the new Covid-19 cases being reported in the Lisbon region are of the more infectious Delta coronavirus variant, preliminary data showed on Sunday.
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Armenia: Nikol Pashinyan claims victory in snap polls

  • Nikol Pashinyan, the acting prime minister of Armenia, has claimed victory in a snap parliamentary election he had called in an effort to defuse a political crisis following a disastrous war with Azerbaijan.
  • Pashinyan had called the snap poll to try to end a political crisis that erupted after ethnic Armenian forces lost a six-week war against Azerbaijan last year and ceded territory in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
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Anzac icon damaged in wild storm

  • “It is likely that more intense rainfall rates occurred in the Albany area during Sunday evening, with significant flooding reported,” the bureau said.
  • Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington was on a flight home to the coastal West Australian town during a fierce storm when the pilot realised there was no way to navigate the wild weather and safely land.
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S. Korea hopes for resumption of talks with N. Korea after Kim’s mention of dialogue

By Yonhap
  • South Korea hopes that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's recent mention of dialogue will lead to resumption of talks between the two Koreas, as well as between the United States and the North, the unification ministry said Monday.
  • Meanwhile, Unification Minister Lee In-young is scheduled to meet the new US special representative for North Korea, Sung Kim, on Tuesday to share their views on the latest political situation surrounding Pyongyang and discuss other issues such as humanitarian cooperation.
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Sydney FC star says ’we’ll play anywhere’

  • While Melbourne City deserve to host the grand final, Sydney FC star Luke Brattan says they shouldn’t complain if the decider is played elsewhere.
  • Both games were played at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium due to Covid-19 implications, with A-League officials deciding to move the City-Macarthur FC match from Melbourne to Sydney despite City still wanting to host the match at an empty AAMI Park.
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Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper in crisis talks to avert shutdown, advisor says

By Helen Davidson in Taipei
  • The board of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper is in crisis talks amid expectations it could shut down in a matter of days after the arrest of its senior editors and executives, and the freezing of its assets and accounts.
  • On Thursday morning a national security police operation involving hundreds of officers raided the homes of five executives, including Apple Daily editor-in-chief, Ryan Law, and arrested them under the national security law, before raiding the newsroom with an unprecedented warrant allowing the seizure of journalistic materials.
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Central American Migrants: They’re Here Because We Were There

By John Buell
  • Frank observed that while then Vice President, Joe Biden wanted to give a billion dollars to the governments of the so-called northern Triangle of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in order to stop migration and address root causes, “If you look at that, it’s pouring precisely into the same security forces and sectors of the economy that are causing the very repression, the very destruction of the economy that people are fleeing.”
  • While the president prepared for and conducted a widely- covered summit that among other things warned Russians not to interfere once again in US elections, Vice President Harris was sternly admonishing Central American to stay put.
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New Zealand’s Hubbard selected as first transgender Olympian

  • Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics after being selected by New Zealand for the women’s event at the Tokyo Games, a decision set to test the ideal of fair competition in sport.
  • New Zealand Olympic Committee chief Kereyn Smith said 43-year-old Hubbard – who was assigned male at birth but transitioned to female in 2013 – had met all the qualification criteria for transgender athletes.
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Armenian PM claims victory in snap election as rival alleges fraud

By Agence France-Presse

Opposition says it will not recognise Nikol Pashinyan’s quick claim to victory, which came when just 30% of precincts had been counted

Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan has claimed victory in a snap parliamentary election he called in an effort to defuse a political crisis after last year’s disastrous war with Azerbaijan.

But the electoral alliance of his top rival, former president Robert Kocharyan, swiftly contested the vote results and alleged election fraud.

Continue reading […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Chaos in parliament after Nats spill

  • Barnaby Joyce will not be sworn in as Leader of the Nationals Party and Deputy Prime Minister before Question Time on Monday, with chaos expected to ensue.
  • Ousted Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack confirmed he will remain in his role until Mr Joyce can be sworn in by the Governor-General, which will not happen until later on Monday at the very earliest.
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Ethiopia votes in greatest electoral test yet for Abiy

  • Ethiopia is voting on Monday in the greatest electoral test yet for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as insecurity and logistical issues mean ballots won’t be cast in more than 100 constituencies of the 547 across the country
  • ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- Ethiopia was voting on Monday in the greatest electoral test yet for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as insecurity and logistical issues meant ballots wouldn't be cast in more than 100 constituencies of the 547 across the country.
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Japan refuses to impose sanctions on Myanmar, undermining US strategy to pressure junta

By Bloomberg
When hundreds of protesters gathered outside Japan’s embassy in Yangon during the height of nationwide anti-coup protests in February, ambassador Ichiro Maruyama emerged from the gates with a firm warning for the junta, urging them to release the detained civilian leadership immediately.The remarks, delivered in Burmese, drew applause from pro-democracy demonstrators hoping Japan would take concrete action to pressure Myanmar’s military, also known as the Tatmadaw. Since then, Japan has […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Apple Daily could shut ‘in days’ after Hong Kong asset freeze – Al Jazeera English

  • Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily will be forced to shut “in a matter of days” after authorities used the national security law imposed by China to freeze the company’s assets as it arrested the paper’s editor and four other directors, an adviser to jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai told Reuters on Monday.
  • Mark Simon, speaking by phone from the United States, said the company was no longer able to access its funds and would be holding a board meeting on Monday to discuss how to move forward.
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Sydney COVID-19 cluster grows to 11 amid fears over ‘scaringly fleeting’ transmission

  • Monday's cases, identified from more than 25,000 tests, include a woman and man in their 50s from Sydney's south and the Sutherland Shire, who are both close contacts of a previously reported case and have been isolating.
  • Both of the cases identified overnight, a woman in her 50s from Sydney's south and a man in his 50s from the Sutherland Shire, are close contacts of previously identified cases and were isolating when they returned their positive result.
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Labor, business far apart on 2022 minimum wage demands

By Ko Jun-tae
  • The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, the two major umbrella labor groups in South Korea, are planning to announce their demand for next year’s rate on Thursday just before attending the fifth plenary meeting of the Minimum Wage Commission.
  • The Korea Enterprises Federation, one of the major interest groups for businesses, has claimed that the current minimum wage rate is already high enough to assure a minimum standard of living for single-person households.
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José Ramos-Horta calls on Timor-Leste to award Australia’s Witness K top honour

By Christopher Knaus
  • José Ramos-Horta will formally request that Timor-Leste award Witness K the nation’s highest honour, praising him for exposing “Australian government perfidy, bad faith and dishonesty” in a bugging operation conducted for the sole purpose of “robbing the poorest country in the world”.
  • Witness K’s actions helped Timor-Leste bring a case against Australia in the permanent court of arbitration at The Hague, where it alleged Australia’s spying meant it had not negotiated in good faith.
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Employers Demand Minimum Wage Freeze

By Kim Kang-han( )
Employers are demanding a freeze of the minimum wage while they try to absorb the impact of recent massive hikes. The Korea Enterprises Federation said Sunday there is no reason to raise the minimum wage at all next year from the current W8,720 (US$1=W1,130). "Last year's minimum monthly wage of W1. […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Roo golf course deaths investigated

  • Victoria Police say investigations are ongoing into the discovery of a number of dead kangaroos at Heritage Golf and Country Club, northeast of Melbourne.
  • “On Saturday, police were called to a golf course on Heritage Ave following reports a number of kangaroos were located deceased and one was injured,” a Victoria Police statement read.
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CWB issues extremely heavy rain warning for central, southern Taiwan

  • The rain in central and southern Taiwan can be attributed to seasonal southwesterly winds, while in the north an approaching weather front will bring bursts of rainfall and thunderstorms to the region, the CWB forecast.
  • Taipei, June 21 (CNA) Central and southern Taiwan could see extremely heavy rain on Monday, while brief bursts of rainfall and thunderstorms could be seen in the north, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).
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Speak up now on Criminal Code: Jakarta Post

  • JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The government and the House of Representatives have resumed deliberation on a bill that would revise the Criminal Code, and they appear to be determined to pass what would be the historic piece of legislation.
  • It would replace, for the first time, the penal code inherited from the Dutch colonial government, even though Indonesia has been independent since 1945.
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New Zealand’s Hubbard selected as first transgender Olympian – Al Jazeera English

  • Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics after being selected by New Zealand for the women’s event at the Tokyo Games, a decision set to test the ideal of fair competition in sport.
  • New Zealand Olympic Committee chief Kereyn Smith said 43-year-old Hubbard – who was assigned male at birth but transitioned to female in 2013 – had met all the qualification criteria for transgender athletes.
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Scholar laments China’s crackdown on intellectuals

By Laurie Chen
  • “I am still protesting against Tsinghua’s illegal dismissal, just like how I am still resisting in my thoughts and my comments on politics,” says Wu, a stocky, energetic man who rattles through Chinese Communist Party history as his cats weave between his feet.
  • You need to comment on politics and society; that’s how you participate in it,” he said.
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Photo shows Dubai princess, focus of UN concern, in Spain

  • A Dubai princess who has been the subject of concern from a United Nations panel after being seized trying to flee the sheikhdom in 2018 appeared in a social media post early Monday that described her as being in Spain on a “European holiday.”
  • A Dubai princess who has been the subject of concern from a United Nations panel after being seized trying to flee the sheikhdom in 2018 has appeared in a social media post that described her as being in Spain on a “European holiday.”
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Karim’s story: Egypt’s crackdown on human rights workers – podcast

By Presented by Anushka Asthana; produced by Courtney Yusuf and Axel Kacoutié; executive producers Nicole Jackson and Phil Maynard

Ten years since the Arab spring rocked Egypt and removed its president, the country is still detaining human rights workers and locking up political prisoners

Karim Ennarah, a human rights worker for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, was at a beach resort in South Sinai when he was arrested and accused of joining a terrorist group and “spreading false news”. He was detained in a prison in Cairo and became one of thousands of political prisoners in the country.

Ennarah tells Anushka Asthana that his arrest was only the beginning of his separation from his British wife. Jess Kelly describes to Anushka the moment that she found out her husband had been arrested by the security services as she rode her bike along a London street, and the great difficulties she herself has faced to be reunited with him.

Continue reading […]Read more >Similar articles >
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In the new Hong Kong, booksellers walk a fine line

By Tiffany May
  • Pong, 47, founded the shop, Book Punch, in 2020, after Beijing imposed a national security law in response to the anti-government protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2019.
  • Pong said he had opened Book Punch precisely because he did not want the city to fall silent under the pressure, and because he felt it was important to build a more empathetic, tight-knit community as the law cast its shadow over Hong Kong.
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State dents national retail spending

  • New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed retail turnover for the month of May rose 0.1 per cent nationally, with Victoria’s lockdown holding back sales growth.
  • Victoria fell 1.5 per cent as the state entered its fourth lockdown on May 28, with trade restricted for physical stores,” ABS director Ben James said.
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Fears Sydney Covid could spread further

  • There are concerns Sydney’s outbreak could spread well beyond the eastern suburbs after Covid-19 was detected in two sewage plants.
  • Masks are now mandatory in public indoor venues – if you are not eating or drinking – if you live in or have visited seven local government areas, including Randwick, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West, City of Sydney, Waverley and Woollahra.
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Japan Inc summoned to vaccinate its ranks

  • Still grappling with a rollout that's vaccinated only 11 per cent of the population, the Japanese government is allowing its biggest corporate brand names and employers like Toyota Motor, SoftBank Group, and Nomura Holdings to administer shots to their own employees within office premises from Monday (June 21).
  • The addition of workplace vaccinations is expected to help Japan reach its goal of a million shots per day by the end of June, the country's vaccine czar Taro Kono told reporters last week.
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McCARTHY: Rahm wins U.S. Open, Canadian Hughes stumbles to 15th

By Jon McCarthy
  • The Spaniard rolled in a 25-foot birdie on the 17th hole to tie the lead, and then rolled in a career-defining 18-foot left-to-right putt on the final hole to take the lead for good, shooting a final round four-under 67 at Torrey Pines to win his first major championship.
  • Nearly every one of the world’s best players had a chance to win the U.S. Open on Sunday, but only Jon Rahm was able to rise to the occasion.
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Sweden’s government faces no confidence vote

  • Heading into the vote on Monday, three scenarios are on the table: Prime Minister Stefan Lofven could simply resign, a snap election could be triggered before next year's general election or some form of political compromise could be reached - saving the Social Democrat and Green Party coalition minority government at the last minute.
  • If voted out, Mr Lofven would have a week to either announce a snap election or resign, leaving it up to speaker of Parliament Andreas Norlen to open negotiations with the parties to find a new prime minister, which analysts note could end up being Mr Lofven again.
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Barnaby Joyce returns as Australia’s deputy PM after ballot

  • Mr Barnaby Joyce is Australia's deputy prime minister for a second time after he was selected as leader of the Nationals, the junior partner in Prime Minister Scott Morrison's coalition government.
  • The upheaval likely won't be welcomed by Mr Morrison, who leads the coalition's senior party, the Liberals, and needs to call an election by May, with most voter polls showing his government is deadlocked with the main Labor opposition.
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‘Power of positive thinking’: Jon Rahm wins US Open weeks after Covid-19 diagnosis

By Bryan Armen Graham at Torrey Pines
  • On Sunday, the fiery 26-year-old became the first Spaniard to capture America’s national championship with a pair of heart-stopping birdie putts on the 71st and 72nd holes, winning by one shot over perennial bridesmaid Louis Oosthuizen while living up to oddsmakers’ billing as the pre-tournament favourite on a frenetic final day at Torrey Pines Golf Course.
  • After early charges by former major champions Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa and a couple of dropped shots by the leaders, no fewer than nine players were in the lead at four-under or one stroke back – formidable scores at a tournament in which anything under par is often enough to win.
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US borders with Canada, Mexico to stay closed due to Covid-19

  • The U.S. government held working-group meetings with Canada and Mexico on the travel restrictions last week and plans to hold meetings about every two weeks, U.S. officials told Reuters.
  • Homeland Security said in a statement it noted "positive developments in recent weeks and is participating with other U.S. agencies in the White House’s expert working groups with Canada and Mexico to identify the conditions under which restrictions may be eased safely and sustainably."
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Indonesia targets its crazy rich Asians with 35 per cent income tax in bid to heal coronavirus-hit economy

By Resty Woro Yuniar
In a bid to boost government coffers decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, Indonesia is considering a sweeping tax overhaul that would add VAT to foodstuffs, education and health care, hike rates for high-net-worth individuals and put major carbon emitters in the firing line.Indonesian President Joko Widodo asked parliament recently to discuss proposals to amend the 1983 law on general tax provisions and procedures. A leaked draft of the government’s proposals showed it was seeking a new tax […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Ethiopians to vote in poll overshadowed by Tigray

  • Ethiopia goes to the polls Monday in a closely-watched election taking place as famine grips the war-torn Tigray region and doubts linger about the credibility of the twice-delayed vote.
  • Ethiopia will vote Monday in an election that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is billing as its freest yet, but that is proceeding under the shadow of war and famine in the north, and serious doubts over fairness.
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Doubts rise over Australia’s offshore handling of refugees

By Keely Sullivan
  • For the first time in decades, a court in Australia has freed an inmate from the Pacific nation’s zero-tolerance immigrant detention system, calling into question the legal foundation of how it handles asylum seekers.
  • A former legal resident of Australia who had lost his visa after an assault conviction in 2011, Mahmoud was freed from the system after nearly six years, after a court ruled that his long-term detention was illegal.
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Sydney COVID-19 cluster grows to 11 after two new cases were recorded overnight

  • Monday's cases, identified from more than 25,000 tests, include a woman and man in their 50s from the Sutherland Shire, who are both close contacts of a previously reported case and have been isolating.
  • Both of the cases identified overnight, a woman in her 50s from Sydney's south and a man in his 50s from the Sutherland Shire, are close contacts of previously identified cases and were isolating when they returned their positive result.
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Over 100 taken into custody as climate protest continues in Helsinki

POLICE in Helsinki brought a total of 117 people into custody in connection with a demonstration organised by Extinction Rebellion Finland on Sunday.

Helsinki Police Department reported yesterday that 104 people were taken into custody for failure to comply with police orders to vacate the road on Mannerheimintie, the main thoroughfare of Helsinki, and 12 on Unioninkatu. One more person was taken into custody for contumacy to the police in conjunction with a counter-protest organised on Sunday.

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PPP’s approval hits highest point since 2016 presidential corruption scandal: Realmeter

By Yonhap
  • The approval rating of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) has reached its highest point since a far-reaching corruption scandal surrounding former conservative President Park Geun-hye in 2016 dealt a crushing blow to the party, the latest opinion poll showed Monday.
  • This image, provided by Realmeter today, shows the approval ratings of political parties in South Korea, with the main opposition People Power Party in the lead with 39.7 percent of support and the ruling Democratic Party in second place with 29.4 percent.
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Building dreams one gadget at a time: retired Hong Kong teacher encourages student to unleash talent as inventors, innovators

By Eddie Lee
Wong Yiu-kwan believes ideas for great inventions often come from everyday life. The veteran educator, who teaches STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – always encourages his students to pay attention to their surroundings.“I ask them to pick up used electrical appliances [discarded on the street], disassemble them and study how they work,” he said. “That’s the cheapest but most practical way to learn.”He also motivates his charges to try making the items themselves. “Once […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Choa Chu Kang Waterworks to get $28.8 million upgrade

  • Its transformation into a state-of-the-art facility with the latest water treatment technologies and smart capabilities will greatly enhance the plant's operations, maintenance, safety and security, PUB said at the launch of the Singapore International Water Week 2021.
  • PUB said the upgraded Choa Chu Kang plant will also have new rooftop solar panels added to the existing 1 megawatt-peak system, to power its operational needs and reduce its carbon footprint.
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‘Mess’: Premier lashes vaccine rollout

  • James Merlino made the comments ahead of emergency talks between state and territory leaders at a national cabinet meeting Monday to discuss damaging new medical advice on the AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week convened the urgent meeting with state and territory leaders for Monday after the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advised against the AstraZeneca jab being administered to people aged under 60.
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Liisa Galea and Lisa Saksida: Fund science for a healthier and safer future 

By Hardip Johal
  • Opinion: Investment in research and innovation has huge implications for who will be most prepared for global crises, as we have learned from our decision to outsource vaccine production
  • Investment in research and innovation has huge implications for who will be most prepared for global crises, as we have learned from our decision to outsource vaccine production.
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Daily Horoscope: June 21, 2021

By Annabel Gat
  • The moon in Scorpio finds you focused on your home and family life today, Leo, and a magical atmosphere for emotional healing flows as sweet Venus connects with transcendent Neptune.
  • The moon is in fellow water sign Scorpio today, inspiring a playful and flirtatious atmosphere, plus affectionate Venus mingles with dreamy Neptune, making for a magically romantic mood!
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Writing on the wall: Hong Kong’s MTR stations are retired architect’s ‘museum of calligraphy’

By Cannix Yau
Regular passengers waiting for trains at many stations of the MTR’s Island line in Hong Kong are familiar with the distinctive Chinese calligraphic script in signage and designs on walls.The vigorous running scripts known as xingshu have individual strokes that seem to flow and move. Some say the characters for “Tin Hau” appear to fly, while others seem to dance.The calligraphy is the work of Abe Au Kit-tong, 71, a retired MTR Corporation architect who has been practising Chinese ink-and-brush […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Apple Daily could shut ‘in days’ after Hong Kong asset freeze

  • Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily will be forced to shut “in a matter of days” after authorities used the national security law imposed by China to freeze the company’s assets as it arrested the paper’s editor and four other directors, an adviser to jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai told Reuters on Monday.
  • Mark Simon, speaking by phone from the United States, said the company was no longer able to access its funds and would be holding a board meeting on Monday to discuss how to move forward.
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Heather Owen and Jason Allsopp: The secret to the city

By Hardip Johal
  • A recent Leger survey told us that 38 per cent of Vancouver residents grew up in the city, with the balance from elsewhere in the Lower Mainland (13 per cent), the rest of B.C.
  • In our survey, we heard feedback about the city that was concerning: Only 54 per cent of its residents say that Vancouver is “very livable” and only four-in-10 agree that it is a good place to raise a family.
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Two new Sydney cases as cluster grows to 11

By Mary Ward
  • Premier Gladys Berejiklian told 2GB’s Ben Fordham she and Health Minister Brad Hazzard were still awaiting the results of a police investigation into the first case in the cluster: a driver contracted to transport international air crew between Sydney Airport and their police-managed hotel quarantine accommodation who visited Bondi Junction Westfield on the weekend of June 12 and 13.
  • Masks are mandatory on public transport across Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Wollongong and Shellharbour council areas.
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Defense minister vows to beef up space tech after lifting of curbs on missiles

By Yonhap
  • Defense Minister Suh Wook said Monday that South Korea will enhance its space defense capabilities and establish a system for combined operations to deal with growing space threats following the recent lifting of US curbs on the country's missile development.
  • "On the basis of the termination of the missile guidelines, we will continue to beef up our space capabilities, including surveillance satellites, and set up a system for combined operations in space," Suh said.
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Saudi talks up strength after US cuts military assets

  • A downsizing of US military assets in Saudi Arabia will not affect its defence capabilities, the Riyadh-led coalition said Sunday, after it intercepted the largest number of Yemeni rebel drones in a single day.
  • Saudi Arabia, which has led a military coalition against Yemen's Huthis since 2015, relies heavily on US-made Patriots to intercept missiles and drones fired at the kingdom on a near daily basis by the Iran-aligned rebels.
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What’s driving Waterloo Region’s COVID-19 surge?

By Alex Cyr
  • An outbreak of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region is a warning about the continuing danger of pockets of unvaccinated people, even as Canada marked a vaccination milestone of 75 per cent of eligible residents receiving one dose and 20 per cent being fully inoculated.
  • “What’s happening here could happen anywhere,” Dr. Wang said in an online briefing on Friday, nine days after the province identified Waterloo Region as a hot spot for the Delta variant.
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S. Korean Olympic chief clinging to hope for N. Korean participation in Tokyo 2020

By Yonhap
  • Lee Kee-heung, head of the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC) and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said in a recent interview that North Korea's status for Tokyo 2020 will remain up in the air until July 5.
  • Lee Kee-heung, head of the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee, speaks in an interview with Yonhap News Agency in his Seoul office last Wednesday.
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China’s ambassador stresses cooperation with N. Korea for regional peace

By Yonhap
  • China's top envoy to North Korea stressed the importance of cooperation between the two allies on regional peace, stability and prosperity on the occasion of the second anniversary of President Xi Jinping's visit to Pyongyang, the North's state media showed Monday.
  • In an op-ed piece to the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, Chinese Ambassador Li Jinjun also said that China and North Korea should expand their communication as their relations are faced with a "new starting point."
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Indian carmakers to step up production

By KS Kumar
  • India’s automobile industry is gradually scaling up its operations as many states have now eased lockdowns following a fall in the number of Covid-19 cases.
  • Meanwhile, the Confederation of Indian Industry has urged the government to follow a cautious approach in opening up all activities to avoid a possible third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Two shootings reported Sunday evening in Montreal North

By Susan Schwartz, Montreal Gazette
  • According to initial reports, gunshots were fired from a vehicle at the intersection, but the driver fled before police arrived.
  • There was a 911 call at about 7:15 p.m. to report gunshots fired at Prieur St. and de London Ave. When police arrived, they founds no victims or suspects, although they did find evidence of bullets fired at a building and shell casings on the ground.
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Cambodians brave Covid-19 impact with small plots of land

  • He is among 250 formerly landless people, small landholders or indigenous people in Chaem Kravien who received a residential plot and farmland from the World Bank-backed Land Allocation for Social and Economic Development (Lased) project.
  • Thy shows that schemes like this really work, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, adding: "This project has helped families weather the loss of jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic."
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Kamloops discovery increases demand for crisis-line services

By Mike Hager
  • Indigenous crisis lines have fielded an explosion of calls for help from people across the country since members of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc announced the discovery of unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Residential School, dredging up traumatic memories for thousands of survivors of that national education system.
  • Angela White, executive director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, said her North Vancouver-based charity has had requests for video counselling, e-mails and calls from survivors and their family members more than quadruple from roughly 640 interactions a day before the news made worldwide headlines May 28 to at least 3,000 in the week following.
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Gov’t Eases Lockdown

Private gatherings of up to six people will be allowed in the greater Seoul area starting next month, while the limit will be raised to eight in other parts of the country. Restaurants, coffee shops and bars in the capital area can open until midnight and as long as they want elsewhere, while gyms w […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Hong Kong police to boost computing power for new anti-money-laundering squad to help screen surge in suspicious financial transactions

By Clifford Lo
Hong Kong police plan to upgrade the computer system for their new anti-money-laundering squad to speed up the screening of a huge number of suspicious financial activities, which surged 10 per cent last year to more than 57,000 reports.Chief Superintendent Lam Man-han, head of the new financial intelligence and investigation bureau, said officers currently had to analyse each suspicious transaction report manually.Lam said she hoped new technology such as a big data analytics system would help […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Australian PM Morrison promises more Covid-19 shots to states amid roll-out delays

  • To accelerate the rollout drive, the federal government plans to distribute around 2.3 million doses of Pfizer vaccine in June to the states and territories, and looks to ramp it up to 3.4 million through July.
  • Australian states have been asking for increased supplies of vaccines after Australia last week announced a policy shift that recommended AstraZeneca shots for people only above 60 years due to clot concerns, throwing the rollout into disarray.
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German conservatives appeal to voters with vow not to hike taxes

  • "We want to put the economy back on a growth path after the (coronavirus) pandemic and raising taxes would be the wrong way," Mr Laschet told a joint news conference with Mr Markus Soeder, leader of the CDU's Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).
  • Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Armin Laschet, who is now the frontrunner to become chancellor, hopes the election programme will cement the conservatives' recently regained lead over the Greens in opinion polls and secure victory in September.
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Vegas Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon tests positive for COVID-19

By Stu Cowan, Montreal Gazette
  • The Vegas Golden Knights announced shortly before Game 4 of their Stanley Cup semifinal series against the Canadiens Sunday night at the Bell Centre that their general manager, Kelly McCrimmon, had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • McCrimmon attended Game 3 of the series, which the Canadiens won 3-2 in overtime Sunday night, in a private loge at the Bell Centre along with George McPhee, the Golden Knights’ director of hockey operations.
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Tokyo Olympics: from surfing and skateboarding, here are the new sports to watch out for

By Cheryl Heng
OurTokyo Trail series looks at key issues surrounding the2020 Olympics, which are scheduled for late July.In the Tokyo 2020 Games this summer, the Olympics is hoping to shake off its outdated image and please younger viewers by ushering in new sports – along with their associated fan bases.The International Olympic Commitee (IOC) in 2016 approved the addition of baseball/softball, surfing, skateboarding, karate, and sport climbing to the official programme of this year’s Games.These sports […]Read more >Similar articles >
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In Indonesian banking, rise in religious conservatism ripples across sector

  • A rise in religious conservatism in Indonesia is drawing talent away from what some view as un-Islamic jobs in banking, industry professionals say, creating hiring woes for conventional banks but a boon for the country's fledgling syariah finance sector.
  • Since 2018, hiring for banks and fintech companies in peer-to-peer lending, payments and investment platforms has been more challenging, said Ms Rini Kusumawardhani, a finance sector recruiter at Robert Walters Indonesia.
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US nuke envoy to meet S. Korean, Japanese counterparts after key NK party meeting

By Yonhap
  • The new US special representative for North Korea, Sung Kim, is set to hold back-to-back talks with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Seoul on Monday, days after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signaled openness to dialogue.
  • Kim arrived here Saturday for a five-day visit, following last week's key ruling party meeting in Pyongyang where the North Korean leader directed his country to be ready for "both dialogue and confrontation" in his first message to the administration of US President Joe Biden.
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Armenia’s acting PM claims victory in snap poll, opposition contests results

By FRANCE 24
  • With 30% of results declared, Pashinyan's party had 58.52% of the vote, compared with 18.56% for former President Robert Kocharyan's Armenia Alliance, the RIA news agency reported, citing the Central Election Commission (CEC).
  • Opinion polls had put the two parties neck and neck in a snap election the government called to try to end a political crisis that erupted after ethnic Armenian forces lost a six-week war against Azerbaijan last year and ceded territory in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
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Big problem with mobile phone plans

  • ACCC chair Rod Sims said the price hike showed providers held no concern of losing customers to rivals due to the lack of competition within the market.
  • “The ACCC opposed the merger of TPG and Vodafone because we were concerned it would lead to higher mobile prices and result in three similar providers with little incentive to compete strongly,” Mr Sims said.
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Kenney touts postinfection immunity, experts remain unsure

By James Keller
  • As Alberta moves to lift virtually all of its public-health measures related to COVID-19, Premier Jason Kenney has responded to concerns about the speed of his reopening plan by pointing to something not included in vaccine statistics: immunity among people who have recovered from the virus.
  • Dr. Hinshaw said health officials then used those earlier numbers to estimate how much testing may have undercounted actual infections by now, concluding that 12 per cent to 14 per cent of the population may have immunity “over and above” those who have been vaccinated.
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Government ordered to release secret pandemic planning files

By Claire Gilbody-Dickerson
  • The information commissioner ordered the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to release documents from Exercise Cygnus after it had previously refused.
  • In March 2021, Qureshi’s lawyers challenged the refusal and wrote to the information commissioner saying the decision was part of a “persistent pattern on the part of the DHSC of closing ranks and refusing to disclose documentation relevant to the public’s understanding of the nation’s preparation for and action in response to” the pandemic.
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US extends travel restrictions at Canada, Mexico land borders through July 21

  • The US government held working-group meetings with Canada and Mexico on the travel restrictions last week and plans to hold meetings about every two weeks, US officials told Reuters.
  • Homeland Security said in a statement it noted "positive developments in recent weeks and is participating with other US agencies in the White House's expert working groups with Canada and Mexico to identify the conditions under which restrictions may be eased safely and sustainably."
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New Zealand weightlifter selected as first transgender athlete to compete at Olympic Games

By Agence France-Presse
New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was confirmed as the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the Olympic Games on Monday when Kiwi officials named her in the squad for Tokyo next month.New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) chief Kereyn Smith said Hubbard, 43 – who was born male but transitioned to female in her 30s – had met all the qualification criteria for transgender athletes.“We acknowledge that gender identity in sport is a highly sensitive and complex issue requiring a […]Read more >Similar articles >
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What is driving China towards its coronavirus vaccination targets?

By Zhuang Pinghui
This is thefifth in a seriesabout China’s plans to reopen its borders to the world amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Here, Zhuang Pinghui explores how the goal of inoculating 560 million people by the end of this month has come within reach.When coronavirus vaccines were opened up to the general public in Shenyang in northeastern China at the end of April, housewife Li Tingting did not feel a pressing need to sign up.There had been no local cases for months and she usually only left the house to […]Read more >Similar articles >
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China ‘risks international isolation’ over investigation into coronavirus origin, says Joe Biden’s security adviser

By Bloomberg
China will risk international isolation if it fails to allow a “real” investigation on its territory into the origins of the virus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday.Sullivan’s comments follow last week’s call by Group of Seven (G7) leaders including US President Joe Biden for another investigation into how the virus originated. Biden last month ordered the US intelligence community to “redouble” its efforts to determine where the […]Read more >Similar articles >
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New age City bound for history

  • He’s one half of the diminutive young gun duo that kept Melbourne City’s hopes of a Premiers Plate-Championship double alive, and Marco Tilio is confident the exploits from their semi-final win over Macarthur can be repeated in Saturday night’s showpiece decider with Sydney FC.
  • They don’t have their Socceroos stars but Melbourne City is primed for a maiden title as generation next steps up for this week’s grand final.
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Canadians support the need for robust Indigenous businesses: survey

By Pratyush Dayal
  • Three-quarters of Canadians believe that supporting strong Indigenous businesses is a vital pathway to heal Canada’s relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, according to a new survey by Sodexo Canada.
  • As Canadians observe National Indigenous History Month this June to honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada, the survey revealed that 77 per cent Canadians agree that the Canadian corporations should include Indigenous owned and operated businesses in their supplier networks whenever possible.
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House asking prices hit record levels across Great Britain

By Jasper Jolly
  • Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist, said this month that Britain’s housing market was “on fire” because of the government’s stamp duty tax breaks as well as increased demand from richer households with more savings after lockdowns.
  • Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said there were “early signs of a slowing in the frenetic pace” of house sales – although this was partly down to high prices coupled with the number of houses on sale hitting an all-time low.
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Review: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra treats a live audience once again

By Stephen Snelgrove
  • Fifty people were allowed in to the Orpheum to hear a short program of music from the 1940s including Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Winds, Timpani, Percussion and String Orchestra, and Richard Strauss’s Duet-Concertino for clarinet and bassoon.
  • Martin’s Concerto was a great chance to reinforce what all regular VSO fans know all too well, the principal players in the orchestra are worthy soloists in their own right.
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