International

Musk’s $44 bn Twitter deal faces 1st legal hurdle in US

THE Orlando Police Pension Fund has sued Elon Musk and his $44 billion buyout of Twitter, claiming that the deal cannot close till 2025 owing to Tesla CEO’s stake in the micro-blogging platform. The proposed class-action lawsuit, filed by the Orlando Police Pension Fund in the Delaware Chancery court, alleged that since Musk was an “interested stockholder” before the merger agreement was approved by Twitter’s board, “the proposed takeover may not lawfully close until 2025 absent approval by the affirmative ..

Over 900 civilians killed around Kyiv, Russia vows new attacks in Ukraine

INDIGNANT over what it called Ukrainian strikes in Russian territory and following the stunning loss of its Black Sea flagship, Moscow threatened renewed missile attacks on Kyiv, where authorities said the bodies of more than 900 civilians were found outside the capital. Most had been shot dead, police said, and likely “simply executed”. Russian forces prepared for a renewed offensive in eastern Ukraine, and fighting also went on in the pummelled southern port city of Mariupol, where locals reported ..

Russia warns US, NATO of ‘unpredictable consequences’

DAYS after the Joe Biden administration announced an additional USD 800 million in military assistance to Ukraine, Russia warns the United States of “unpredictable consequences” if the country continues to transfer weapons to Ukraine. ‘Washington Post’ reviewed a diplomatic note that Russia sent the US this week and said that the note warned that US and NATO shipments of the “most sensitive” weapons systems to Ukraine could bring “unpredictable consequences,” reported ‘Aljazeera’...

Chinese astronauts return to Earth after 6 months

HREE Chinese astronauts returned to Earth safely on Saturday after spending a record six months aboard China’s new space station, doubling the previous stay of the country’s longest single flight in space. The Shenzhou-13 capsule carrying astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu touched down successfully at 9:56 am local time in the Dongfeng landing site in Gobi Desert, North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, state-run ‘Xinhua news’ agency reported...

Lanka hikes interest rates to tackle inflation

SRI Lanka’s central bank has decided to hike interest rates by an unprecedented 700 basis points to tame high inflation amid the worst economic crisis that has led to protests across the country and put President Gotabaya Rajapaksa under mounting pressure to resign. The move comes as Sri Lanka’s main Opposition party SJB on Friday announced that it will move a no-confidence motion against the Government of President Rajapaksa and is prepared to impeach the embattled leader if he fails to address ..

Ukraine station attack toll reaches 52 By Adam Schreck and Cara Anna

UKRAINIAN President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he wants a tough global response to Russia after its forces fired a missile at a crowded train station, killing at least 52 people. Zelenskyy’s voice rose in anger during his nightly address late Friday, when he said, the strike on the Kramatorsk train station, where 4,000 people were trying to flee a looming Russian offensive in the east, amounted to another war crime. Russia denied it was responsible for the strike. Among those killed were children, ..

Oscars bans Will Smith for 10 yrs for slapping Chris

THE motion picture academy on Friday banned Will Smith from attending the Oscars or any other academy event for 10 years following his slap of Chris Rock at the Academy Awards. The move comes after a meeting of the academy’s Board of Governors to discuss a response to Smith’s actions. It is unclear whether the ban would apply to future nominations. “The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year; however, those moments ..

Pak Speaker ‘no’ to allow no-trust motion; saying ‘don’t mind being punished’

LIVING up to his own resolve to fight until the “last ball”, Prime Minister Imran Khan sprang late-night surprises upon the nation by reportedly sacking an unnamed but very important person in the official system, and asking the National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser not to allow the no-trust motion to be put for voting. Responding quickly to the Prime Minister’s move, the Opposition, too, moved into Islamabad High Court a petition seeking to restrain Imran Khan from sacking any key person -- with ..

Rajapaksa declares emergency amidst protests in Lanka

SRI LANKAN President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has declared a nationwide public emergency amidst a spate of protests, including outside his house, over the worst economic crisis in the island nation. Rajapaksa issued a special gazette notification late on Friday night, declaring a public emergency in Sri Lanka with immediate effect from April 1. In the gazette, the President states: “Whereas I am of opinion that by reason of a public emergency in Sri Lanka it is expedient to do so in the interests of ..

72 attacks on Ukrainian healthcare facilities since Feb 24, says WHO

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has registered a total of 72 attacks targeting Ukrainian healthcare facilities since Russia launched its war on February 24. According to the WHO’s Surveillance System for Attacks on Healthcare (SSA), of the 72 attacks, 58 impacted facilities, 11 transportation, 16 personnel, 10 patients, eight supplies and one impacted a warehouse. There were a total of 71 deaths and 37 injuries as a result of these attacks, the SSA added. “We are concerned that this number is ..

Zelenskyy makes surprise appearance at Doha Forum

UKRAINE’S President made a surprise video appearance Saturday at Qatar’s Doha Forum, calling on the energy-rich nation and others to boost their production to counteract the loss of Russian energy supplies. Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the United Nations and world powers to come to his aid, as he has in a series of other addresses given around the world since the start of the war Feb. 24. He compared Russia’s destruction of the port city of Mariupol to the Syrian and Russian destruction wrought ..

Russian forces keep up attacks in Ukraine as two sides hold talks

LVIV (Ukraine), RUSSIAN and Ukrainian negotiators held a new round of talks on Monday as Russia’s military forces bombarded Kyiv and other cities across Ukraine with a punishing assault that the Red Cross said has created “nothing short of a nightmare” for the country’s civilians. After an airstrike on a military base near the Polish border brought the war dangerously close to NATO’s doorstep, the talks raised hopes for progress in evacuating civilians from besieged Ukrainian cities and getting emergency ..

Pregnant woman who was injured in Mariupol hospital bombing dies

A PREGNANT woman who was injured during the Russian shelling of a maternity hospital in Ukraine’s Mariupol city on March 10, has died, which increased the overall fatalities in the attack to four, a media report said citing a journalist as saying. The Ukayinska Pravda newspaper quoted Voice of America journalist Asya Dolina as saying in a Facebook post that “the pregnant girl seen in video/photo reports from the bombing site of the children’s hospital no.3 in Mariupol (maternity hospital), the one ..

Over 1,500 killed in Ukraine’s Mariupol so far

UKRAINIAN authorities have said that 1,500 civilians have been killed in Mariupol as Russian forces have continued its assault on the besieged port city. In a social media post late Friday night, the Mariupol City Council said that at least “1,582 civilian residents of Mariupol have been killed by Russian occupying forces over the 12 days of the city’s blockade, and ruthless firing on residential neighbourhoods”, reports the ‘Ukrayinska Pravda’ newspaper. Russian forces pounding the port city of Mariupol ..

Ukraine’s First Lady relays war horrors

UKRAINES First Lady Olena Zelenska has released her first public statement in a letter addressed to the global community. In the statement, she relays the horrors of war, particularly for women and children. She also named some child casualties of the war so far: “Eight-year-old Alice who died on the streets of Okhtyrka while her grandfather tried to protect her.” “Polina from Kyiv, who died in the shelling with her parents.” “Fourteen-year-old Arseniy was hit in the head by wreckage, and could not ..

Indians evacuated from Sumy may board flight today

THE last big group of about 700 Indian students evacuated from the north-eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy has boarded a special train from Poltava and are likely to board a flight to India from Poland on Thursday. The train will take the students to Lviv in western Ukraine, from where they will be taken to Poland in buses, Anshad Ali, a student coordinator, informed. The distance between Poltava and Lviv is around 888 km. Covering hundreds of miles across Ukraine, using multiple means of transport, ..

Russia steps up shelling in Ukraine residential areas

RUSSIAN forces intensified shelling of cities in Ukraine’s centre, north and south, a Ukrainian official said, as a second attempt to evacuate besieged civilians collapsed. With the Ukrainian leader urging his people to take to the streets to fight, Russian President Vladimir Putin shifted blame for the invasion, saying, Moscow’s attacks could be halted “only if Kyiv ceases hostilities.” The outskirts of Kyiv, Chernihiv in the north, Mykolaiv in the south, and Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest ..

We are fighting world’s 1st hybrid war: Ukraine

THE Ukrainian Government has revealed that it is fighting a ‘hybrid war’ where Russia-backed threat actors are hitting their Internet networks while their Armies are attacking physical infrastructure on the ground. The country’s cyber-security authority said, its cyber defences are repelling most hacking attacks, adding that the cyber-war with Russia was unprecedented, the ‘BBC’ reported. “These two wars (we are fighting) are part of this hybrid war. This is happening for the first time in history ..

11-year-old boy crosses Ukraine border with phone number written on his hand

A BOY from Zaporizhzhia in southeast Ukraine, was hailed “a hero of the night” by Slovakian authorities after they said he crossed Ukraine’s border into Slovakia on his own, CNN reported. The 11-year-old was carrying a backpack, a plastic bag and a passport, and had a telephone number written on his hand, according to the Slovak Ministry of Interior. The statement said that thanks to the information written on the boy’s hand and on a piece of paper that was folded in his passport, the staff at the ..

3-tonne rocket debris collides with Moon, creates 65 feet wide crater

AFTER seven-year of space odyssey, a three-tonne piece of Chinese rocket debris slammed into the Moon, creating a 65 feet wide crater on the lunar surface, the media reported. The event took place at 7.25 AM EST on the lunar far side, on Friday. As a result NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter could not get a look at the crash. “We certainly have an interest in finding the impact crater and will attempt to do so over the coming weeks and months,” John Keller, the deputy project scientist for the Lunar ..

Over 13,300 Indians evacuated from Ukraine so far: MEA

THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA)on Saturday said that almost all Indians have left Kharkiv city of Ukraine and the main focus of the Government is to evacuate citizens from Sumy as it is challenging amid ongoing violence and lack of transportation. The MEA said that over 13,300 people returned to India so far and 13 flights are scheduled for the next 24 hours...

Russian forces trying to encircle Kyiv Russians also besiege two strategic Ukrainian seaports

RUSSIAN forces were on Thursday trying to encircle Kyiv amid intense fighting currently underway within 20-40 km of the Ukrainian capital, a non-profit think tank said. In a statement to the local Ukrainska Pravda newspaper, the Kyiv-based Centre for Defence Strategies said: “The enemy is trying to encircle the capital with a massive gathering of troops (close to 30 tactical battalions). The biggest threat comes from the north and north west of Kyiv (Ivankiv, Vorzel, Bucha, Irpin Hostomil).” The statement ..

WWIII will be fought with nuclear weapons, says Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov

RUSSIA’S Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned that a Third World War ‘will be nuclear and destructive’ as the fallout of his nation’s invasion of neighbour Ukraine intensifies, Daily Mail reported. In a thinly veiled threat for NATO not to get involved in Ukraine, Lavrov said that any future world war would be fought with nuclear weapons- a statement that comes just days after President Vladimir Putin warned that any country sending troops to Ukraine would be met with severe consequences, the ..

Local people helpful but Ukrainian officials kicked Indians, says UP student on return

INDIANS trying to leave Ukraine were “kicked” and “dragged” by officials at the country’s border, a student has claimed while adding that the local people were very helpful to them. Anshika, a third-year MBBS student in Ukraine’s Vinnytsia, landed in Delhi at around 11 pm on Tuesday and arrived home in Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur on Wednesday. “I had given up all hopes of returning to India as the situation there was grave. All of us were consoling each other and sharing the pain,” Anshika told ..

Russia pummels Ukraine’s 2nd largest city, convoy nears Kyiv

RUSSIAN shelling pounded civilian targets in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv again on Tuesday and a 40-mile convoy of tanks and other vehicles threatened the capital — tactics Ukraine’s embattled President said were designed to force him into concessions in Europe’s largest ground war in generations. With the Kremlin increasingly isolated by tough economic sanctions that have tanked the rouble currency, Russian troops attempted to advance on Ukraine’s two biggest cities. In strategic Kharkiv, ..

AI Express flight with 182 Indians evacuated from Ukraine lands in Mumbai

AN AIR India Express seventh flight carrying 182 Indian nationals evacuated from war-torn Ukraine landed here from the Romanian capital Bucharest on Tuesday morning, an airline spokesperson said. Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane received them at the Mumbai airport, the spokesperson said. The AI Express flight IX-1202 from Bucharest via Kuwait touched down the runway at 7.40 am, he said. An aircraft to bring back Indian nationals from Ukraine had left from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International ..

A shelling, a young girl and hopeless moments in a hospital

IN THE port city of Mariupol, where Ukrainians are trying to fend off a Russian advance, an ambulance raced into a city hospital on Sunday, carrying a 6-year-old girl mortally injured in Russian shelling. She was pale. Her brown hair was pulled back with a rubber band. Her bloody pyjama pants were decorated with cartoon unicorns. She was brought in with her wounded father, his head bloodied and bandaged. A medical team pumped her chest, fighting desperately to revive her. Her mother stood outside ..

Atlas of human suffering worse: UN climate report

DEADLY with extreme weather now, climate change is about to get so much worse. It is likely going to make the world sicker, hungrier, poorer, gloomier and way more dangerous in the next 18 years with an “unavoidable” increase in risks, a new United Nations science report says. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report said Monday on that if human-caused global warming isn’t limited to just another couple tenths of a degree, an Earth now struck regularly by deadly heat, fires, floods ..

India abstains on vote to call for emergency UNGA session on Ukraine

FOR THE second time in as many days, India abstained on a UN Security Council resolution to convene a rare emergency special session of the UN General Assembly on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, even as New Delhi asserted that there is no other choice but to return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue to settle the Ukraine crisis. The 15-nation Council met Sunday afternoon to vote on a procedural resolution to refer the Ukrainian situation to an emergency session of the 193-member UN General ..

US, allies to cut off Russian banks from SWIFT

IN A major move aimed to cripple Russia’s economy, the US along with its key allies, including EU and the UK, have decided to disconnect key sanctioned Russian banks from the global financial system SWIFT and impose restrictive measures on its central bank in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. It was also decided to launch a joint task force to hunt down assets of sanctioned Russian companies and oligarchs, according to a joint statement issued by the leaders of the US, the European Commission, ..

Ukraine wipes out barbaric Chechen forces sent to assassinate Zelensky

UKRAINE landed a significant blow on Russia after it allegedly killed a large group of bloodthirsty Chechen special forces dispatched to assassinate the country’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, ‘Daily Mail’ reported. The armed group -- famed for their barbaric violence and human rights abuses -- are said to have been obliterated after their convoy of 56 tanks was blown to smithereens near Hostomel, just northeast of Kyiv, by Ukrainian missile fire on the second day of the Chechens’ deployment. It is ..

Ball of flames erupt as oil depot, gas pipeline blown up in Ukraine

THERE have been reports that an oil depot had been blown up at Vasylkiv Air Base. The city which sits around 40 kilometers south west of Kyiv, close to a key airport, ‘Daily Mail’ reported. A gas pipeline was also blown up in Kharkiv. Video footage showed a mushroom cloud filling the city’s sky as the fuel line was destroyed, with a group of people, who filmed the clip, heard exclaiming with shock as the ball of flames erupted into the sky. It is unclear if anyone was injured or killed by either blast, ..

Russia’s military ops in Ukraine a ‘forced measure’: Putin

RUSSIA’S special military operation in Ukraine is a ‘forced measure’ and Moscow was left without other options, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday while assuring the international community that Russia did not intend to ‘damage’ the global economic system. Addressing top Russian business leaders here, Putin explained that the security risks for Russia were made so high it was impossible to react with other means...

Russia launches attack on Ukraine

RUSSIAN troops launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday, as President Vladimir Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to “consequences you have never seen.” Ukrainian border guards released footage of what they said were Russian military vehicles moving in, and big explosions were heard in the capital Kyiv, Kharkiv in the east and Odesa in the west. As the Russian military claimed to have wiped out ..

US announces first tranche of sanctions on Russia

US President Joe Biden has announced a set of sweeping sanctions targeting Russia’s ability to do business with the West, asserting that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s decision to order troops into parts of eastern Ukraine was “a flagrant violation of international law”. Announcing the “first tranche” of US sanctions on Russia for its moves against Ukraine, including on two large financial institutions, Russian sovereign debt and Russian elites and their family members, Biden said the American ..

Russia welcomes India’s independent position

RUSSIA on Wednesday welcomed India’s “independent position” on the Ukraine crisis and said its views on the issue at the UN Security Council was reflective of the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries. Russian Deputy Chief of Mission Roman Babushkin said India has been playing a vital role as a responsible global power and it takes an “independent and balanced” approach to global affairs. “We welcome the independent position of India which it took twice at the UN Security ..

World’s ‘most beautiful building’ opens in Dubai

TOUTED as the “most beautiful building in the world,” the Museum of the Future received a gala opening here, heralding the arrival of another much-awaited landmark in the UAE that has been nine years in the making. A sprawling seven-storeyed circular building standing at 77 meters, spread across 30,000 square meters, this imposing structure is situated just a stone’s throw away from the world’s tallest construction, the Burj Khalifa, another iconic structure that has been an intrinsic part of Dubai’s ..

‘Unacceptable’: World leaders condemn Russia on Ukraine

WORLD leaders scrambled Tuesday to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin — and to signal possible sanctions — after he ordered his forces into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine. While Russia’s troop movements were still not clear, leaders in Asia and elsewhere voiced strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, along with worries about how a European war could hurt global and local economies and endanger foreign nationals trapped in Ukraine. “Ukraine’s sovereignty and territory must be respected,” ..

PUTIN ORDERS TROOPS INTO UKRAINE, KYIV DARES BACK

A LONG-FEARED Russian invasion of Ukraine appeared to be imminent on Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin ordering forces into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine. A vaguely worded decree signed by Putin cast the order as an effort to “maintain peace.” But it appeared to dash the slim remaining hopes of averting a major conflict in Europe that could cause massive casualties, energy shortages on the continent and economic chaos around the globe. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ..

UN chief calls Russia’s decision violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity

UNITED Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday voiced great concern over Russia’s decision to recognise Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as “independent”, saying Moscow’s decision is a “violation” of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and inconsistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The move was strongly condemned by the US, which said that the decision represents a “complete rejection” of Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements, ..

Russia plans biggest war in Europe since 1945: UK PM

EVIDENCE suggests that Russia is planning “the biggest war in Europe since 1945”, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the BBC. “All the signs are that the plan has already in some senses begun,” he said on Saturday from Munich where world leaders are meeting for an annual security conference. Intelligence suggests Russia intends to launch an invasion that will encircle Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Johnson told the BBC. “I’m afraid to say that the plan we are seeing is for something that could be really ..

Russia misled world, added 7K troops near Ukraine: NATO

NATO allies accused Russia of misleading the world by saying it was returning some troops to bases, reporting that Moscow has instead added as many as 7,000 more forces near its tense border with Ukraine. The alliance warned on Thursday that the buildup has only strengthened its resolve. After a handful of positive signals from Russia that eased tensions earlier in the week, the pendulum appeared to be swinging in the opposite direction again. The NATO chief welcomed Kremlin offers to keep pursuing ..

25 students from Indore stranded in Ukraine; parents seek repatriation

AT LEAST 25 students from Madhya Pradesh’s Indore are stuck in Ukraine and their family members have urged the Centre to help them bring home safely at the earliest amid the threat of Russian invasion. “In the last two-three days, about 25 people from Indore have contacted me and informed me that their children are stranded in Ukraine. These students want to return to their homes at the earliest due to the threat of Russian invasion,” Indore’s Lok Sabha MP Shankar Lalwani told PTI on Wednesday. Lalwani ..

Biden urges Russia to step back from the brink of war

THE US is ready to respond “decisively” to a Russian attack on Ukraine which is still very much a possibility, President Joe Biden has said, urging Moscow to step back from the brink of war. Providing an update on the crisis involving Russia and Ukraine on Tuesday, Biden said, the United States was prepared no matter what happens. “We are ready with diplomacy — to be engaged in diplomacy with Russia and our Allies and partners to improve stability and security in Europe as a whole. And we are ready ..

Some Russian troops near Ukraine pulling back

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that he welcomed a security dialogue with the West as his military reported pulling back some of its troops near Ukraine — signals that may indicate the Kremlin has opted for a diplomatic path for now despite Western fears of an imminent Russian invasion of its neighbour. Putin said, he doesn’t want war and would rely on negotiations as he presses his demand for the West to halt Ukraine’s bid to join NATO. At the same time, he didn’t commit to a full ..

‘Europe closer to war than it’s been for 70 years’

JAMES Heappey, the UK’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces, said that he believes Europe is closer to war than it has been for 70 years, the BBC reported. “There’s 1,30,000 Russian troops around the borders of Ukraine, thousands more on amphibious shipping in the Black Sea and the Azov Sea,” he told the BBC. “All of the combat enablers are in place and my fear is that if all of this was just about a show to win leverage in diplomacy that doesn’t require the logistics, the ..

Bill Gates’ roadmap for preventing another pandemic

“I BELIEVE that COVID-19 can be the last pandemic (and) I know that might be hard to believe while we’re still trying to get (the present outbreak) under control,” says Bill Gates in a new book about the lessons learnt in the past two years and how to apply them to avoid a future disaster. “How To Prevent The Next Pandemic” (Penguin/Allen Lane), to be published on May 3, is a clear and hopeful plan of what countries, Government leaders, and individuals must do to help prevent another pandemic. Grounded ..

Efforts intensify to defuse tension looming over Ukraine

INTERNATIONAL efforts to defuse the stand-off over Ukraine intensified on Monday, with French President Emmanuel Macron holding talks in Moscow to coordinate policies as fears of a Russian invasion mounted. The buildup of an estimated 1,00,000 Russian troops near Ukraine has fuelled Western worries of a possible offensive. White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan warned on Sunday that Russia could invade Ukraine “any day,” triggering a conflict that would come at an “enormous human cost.” ..

In-ground traffic lights installed in Seoul for ‘smartphone zombies’

A GROWING number of crosswalk traffic signals have been installed across Seoul as a way to enhance the safety of pedestrians glued to their smartphones, according to the South Korean capital’s ward offices on Tuesday. Nearly 1,200 in-ground crosswalk traffic signal systems were in operation across the city’s total 25 boroughs as of Tuesday, led by the southern ward of Gangnam, which was operating 138 of them, reports ‘Yonhap News Agency’. Installed on the ground at the foot of a crosswalk, the ..

US, Russia launch talks amid tensions over Ukraine

SENIOR US and Russian officials formally launched special talks on strategic stability on Monday as part of a flurry of diplomatic activity in Europe this week aimed at defusing tensions over a Russian military buildup on the border with Ukraine, though no major breakthrough was immediately in sight. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and his delegation arrived under Swiss police escort at the US diplomatic mission for face-to-face talks with Wendy Sherman, the US deputy secretary of state, ..

Lander and rover of China’s Chang’e 4 probe completes 1,003.9 metres of travel on far side of Moon: Report

YUTU-2, the lander and rover of China’s Chang’e 4 lunar probe which scripted history in 2019 when it made the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon, has travelled 1,003.9 metres of the region and captured an obscure intriguing image of a mysterious object, the official media reported on Saturday. The distance covered by Yutu-2, or Jade Rabbit-2, was 1,003.9 metres as of Thursday midnight, the Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Lunar Exploration and Space Programme Centre of the ..

WHO chief worried about ‘tsunami’ of omicron, delta cases

THE head of the World Health Organization said Wednesday that he’s worried about the omicron and delta variants of COVID-19 producing a “tsunami” of cases between them, but he’s still hopeful that the world will put the worst of the pandemic behind it in 2022. Two years after the coronavirus first emerged, top officials with the U.N. health agency cautioned that it’s still too early to be reassured by initial data suggesting that omicron, the latest variant, leads to milder disease...

Indian scientists reveal new layer of monsoon circulation’s link to Antarctica

IDENTIFYING several occurrences of interchanging intense and weak monsoon circulation events during the 145 kyr period (roughly a millennia), Indian scientists have found that warm/cold conditions in Antarctica show a near one-to-one coupling with weak/strong monsoon phases, suggesting a strong mechanistic link between them during the period. Four scientists from National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, and the School of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric ..

Myanmar court sentences ousted leader Suu Kyi to 4 years in prison

A SPECIAL court in Myanmar’s capital sentenced the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to four years in prison on Monday after finding her guilty of incitement and violating coronavirus restrictions, a legal official said. The sentencing was the first in a series of cases in which the 76-year-old Nobel laureate is being prosecuted since the army seized power on Feb 1, preventing her National League for Democracy party from starting a second five-year term in office. The verdict in another case ..

Blanket travel bans will not prevent intl spread of Omicron variant: WHO

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, even as dozens of countries have already introduced such restrictions. Although Omicron has been labeled a “variant of concern” by the WHO, it said on Tuesday that blanket travel bans will only place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods, while also “disincentivizing countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data.”..

Omicron poses ‘very high’ risk: WHO

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Monday that the global risk from the omicron variant is “very high” based on the early evidence, saying the mutated coronavirus could lead to surges with “severe consequences.” The assessment from the UN health agency, contained in a technical paper issued to member states, amounted to WHO’s strongest, most explicit warning yet about the new version that was first identified days ago by researchers in South Africa. It came as a widening circle of countries ..

Omicron has 30+ mutations in spike protein region, may bypass vaccines: AIIMS chief

THE new Omicron variant of coronavirus has reportedly got over 30 mutations in the spike protein region giving it the potential to develop a immunoescape mechanism, and thus the efficacy of vaccines against it needs to be evaluated critically, AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guelria has said. The presence of spike protein facilitates a virus’ entry into the host cell and is responsible for making it transmissible and causing infection. “The new variant of coronavirus reportedly has got more than 30 mutations ..

NASA launches ‘asteroid-deflecting’ spacecraft

NATIONAL Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Wednesday launched its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft, intended to deliberately crash into an asteroid. The DART mission lifted off at 1.21 am EST (11.51 am India time), aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, NASA said in a statement. The DART mission is the first to test technologies for preventing an impact on Earth by a hazardous asteroid. DART will demonstrate the planetary defence ..

Taliban bans women from appearing in TV dramas

WOMEN have been banned from appearing in television dramas in Afghanistan under new rules imposed by the Taliban-led Government, the BBC reported. Female journalists and presenters have also been ordered to wear headscarves on screen, although the guidelines do not say which type of covering to use. Reporters say some of the rules are vague and subject to interpretation, according to the BBC report. The latest set of Taliban guidelines, which have been issued to Afghan television channels, features ..

Pak’s Parlt enacts law to give Kulbhushan Jadhav right to file review appeal against his conviction

PAKISTAN’S Parliament in its joint sitting on Wednesday enacted a law to give Indian death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav the right to file a review appeal against his conviction by a military court. Jadhav, a 51-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. India approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence. ..

China overtakes US as richest country in world

GLOBAL wealth tripled over the last two decades, with China leading the way and overtaking the US for the top spot worldwide, Bloomberg reported. A report by McKinsey & Co. that examines the national balance sheets of 10 countries representing more than 60 per cent of the world’s income. China accounted for almost one-third of gains in global net worth over the past two decades. “We are now wealthier than we have ever been,” Jan Mischke, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute in Zurich, said in ..

CBI searches in 14 States in child sexual abuse case

THE CBI on Tuesday started a coordinated search operation at 76 locations in 14 States against 83 people allegedly involved in sexual abuse of children and posting and circulating abuse material on the web space, officials said. The Central agency registered 23 separate cases on November 14 against 83 people allegedly involved in online child sexual abuse and exploitation, they said...

Climate talks resume, cautious coal phaseout still on table

NEGOTIATORS at the this year’s UN climate talks pored over fresh proposals on Saturday aimed at sealing a deal that could credibly be said to boost the world’s efforts to tackle global warming. British officials chairing the talks in Glasgow, Scotland, released new draft agreements a day after the official deadline passed. A proposal for the overarching decision retains contentious language calling on countries to accelerate “efforts towards the phase-out of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil ..

SpaceX crew launch marks 600 space travellers in 60 yrs CAPE

A SPACEX rocket carried four astronauts into orbit on Wednesday night, including the 600th person to reach space in 60 years. The repeatedly delayed flight occurred just two days after SpaceX brought four other astronauts home from the International Space Station. They should have been up there to welcome the newcomers, but NASA and SpaceX decided to switch the order based on Monday’s ideal recovery weather in the Gulf of Mexico and pulled it off. “It was a great ride, better than we imagined,” mission ..

Ice on the edge of survival: Arctic warming 3 times faster than rest of planet

WHILE conducting research in Greenland, ice scientist Twila Moon was struck this summer by what climate change has doomed Earth to lose and what could still be saved. The Arctic is warming three times faster than the rest of the planet and is on such a knife’s edge of survival that the UN climate negotiations underway in Scotland this week could make the difference between ice and water at the top of the world in the same way that a couple of tenths of a degree matter around the freezing mark, scientists ..

We’ll lead even if you don’t: Indian girl to world leaders at COP26

A 15-YEAR-OLD Indian schoolgirl, whose solar-powered ironing cart project was the finalist of Prince William’s inaugural Earthshot Prize, addressed the World Leaders’ Summit of the COP26 conference in Glasgow with a clarion call for them to act and save the planet. Vinisha Umashankar, who is from Tamil Nadu, was part of the “Accelerating Clean Technology Innovation and Deployment”, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi just before he left for New Delhi on Tuesday evening. She invited world leaders, ..

Experts hail India’s pledge of net zero carbon emissions by 2070 as ‘real climate action’

ENVIRONMENT experts on Monday hailed as “real climate action” India’s pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070, saying that by making this big promises at COP 26, India has put the ball in the court of developed nations to fulfill promise of climate finance. Lauding the national statement delivered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 26th international climate conference in Glasgow, experts said India is rightly demanding USD 1 trillion from the developed nations. “I want to congratulate ..

PM Modi and other G20 leaders toss a coin at iconic Trevi Fountain in Rome

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday visited the famous Trevi Fountain here along with other world leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit. The fountain is one of the most visited monuments of Italy and is loved by tourists. The historical fountain has drawn many filmmakers to it who have popularised the Baroque art-styled monument as the epitome of a place of romance. “#G20 Heads of Delegation start the 2nd day of the #G20RomeSummit with a walk to a symbolic place of the city: Trevi Fountain, ..

US to lift all travel restrictions for foreign nationals from Nov 8: WH

THE US will lift all restrictions for fully-vaccinated international travellers, including from India, from November 8 but they will have to show proof of a negative coronavirus test before boarding a flight to the country, the White House has announced. The updated travel guidelines issued on Monday also include new protocols around testing. To further strengthen protections, unvaccinated travellers - whether US Citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), or the small number of accepted unvaccinated ..

Flower festival of Telangana ‘Bathukamma’ showcased on Burj Khalifa in Dubai

TELANGANA’S traditional ‘Bathukamma’ (floral festival), celebrated by the women folk, was showcased on the world’s largest screen on Burj Khalifa in Dubai. TRS MLC K Kavitha-led cultural organisation ‘Telangana Jagruthi’, made arrangements to play the Bathukamma documentary on the big screen for invited delegates and separately for the local people on Saturday night, a release from Kavitha’s office said here. “Dubai’s Burj Khalifa witnessed a unique show that celebrated Telangana’s ‘Bathukamma’ ..

S Korea test launches first domestically made space rocket

SOUTH Korea test launched its first domestically produced space rocket on Thursday in what officials describe as an important step in the country’s pursuit of a satellite launch programme. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the three-stage Nuri rocket succeeded in delivering a dummy payload – a 1.5-ton block of stainless steel and aluminum – into orbit 600 to 800 km (372 to 497 miles) above Earth. Live footage showed the 47-meter (154 foot) rocket soaring into the air with bright yellow flames ..

IMF Chief Economist Gopinath to leave job

INTERNATIONAL Monetary Fund’s Chief Economist Gita Gopinath will leave her job in January next year and return to the prestigious Harvard University’s Economics Department, according to the global financial institution. The 49-year-old prominent Indian-American economist had joined IMF as the Chief Economist in January 2019. She was the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University when she joined the Washington-based global lender. IMF Managing Director Kristalina ..

46 killed, dozens injured after 13-story building catches fire in Taiwan

THE death toll from a fire in southern Taiwan that engulfed a building overnight has further risen to 46 killed, according to local officials on Thursday who said at least another 41 people were injured. The 13-story building caught fire around 3 a.m. Thursday, fire officials in the city of Kaohsiung said. A fire department statement said the blaze was “extremely fierce” and destroyed many floors. At least 11 bodies were sent straight to the morgue, Fire Chief Li Ching-hsiu told reporters at the scene. ..

Physics Nobel goes to 3 for climate discoveries

THE Nobel Prize for physics has been awarded to scientists from Japan, Germany and Italy. Syukuro Manabe, 90, and Klaus Hasselmann, 89, were cited for their work in “the physical modeling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming”. The second half of the prize was awarded to Giorgio Parisi, 73, for “the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales.” The panel said, Manabe and Hasselmann “laid ..

2 US scientists get Nobel Prize in medicine

TWO scientists won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for their discoveries into how the human body perceives temperature and touch, revelations that could lead to new ways of treating pain or even heart disease. Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian identified receptors in the skin that respond to heat and pressure. Their work is focused on the field of somatosensation, which explores the ability of specialised organs such as eyes, ears and skin to see, hear and feel. The committee said ..

N Korea’s hypersonic missile test-fired

NORTH Korea said, it successfully tested a new hypersonic missile it implied was being developed as nuclear capable, as it continues to expand its military capabilities and pressure Washington and Seoul over long-stalled negotiations over its nuclear weapons. The missile test early on Tuesday was North Korea’s third round of launches this month and took place shortly before North Korea’s UN envoy accused the United States of hostility and demanded the Biden administration permanently end joint military ..

Royals join cast of new Bond film for glitzy London premiere

BRITAIN’S royals joined Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux and the cast of “No Time to Die” on the red carpet for the new Bond film’s world premiere Tuesday, a glittering event that marked the movie’s release after multiple delays caused by the pandemic. The film, the 25th in the long-running series and Craig’s last outing as 007, was initially due to be released in April 2020...

Amazon is East India Co 2.0, wants to establish its monopoly: Panchjanya

E-COMMERCE major Amazon has been termed as “East India Company 2.0” by the RSS-linked weekly, ‘Panchjanya’, which has also alleged that the firm has paid crores of rupees in bribes for favourable Government policies. In its latest edition, which will hit the stands on October 3, ‘Panchjanya’ has carried a cover story with Jeff Bezo’s photo that is highly critical of Amazon. “Whatever the East India Company did in the 18th century to capture India, the same is visible in the activities of Amazon,” ..

Afghan soil mustn’t be used to attack any country: India, US

INDIA and the US have called on the Taliban to adhere to its commitments and respect the human rights of all Afghans, including women, children and minority groups, and asked the new rulers in Kabul to make sure that the war-torn country’s territory is never again used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists. In a US-India Joint Leaders’ Statement issued after the first in-person bilateral meeting between US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the ..

North Korea expanding uranium enrichment plant

RECENT satellite images shows North Korea is expanding a uranium enrichment plant at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex, a sign that it’s intent on boosting the production of bomb materials, experts say. The assessment comes after North Korea recently raised tensions by performing its first missile tests in six months amid long-dormant nuclear disarmament diplomacy with the United States. “The expansion of the enrichment plant probably indicates that North Korea plans to increase its production ..

Chinese astronauts return after 90-day mission to space station

CHINA on Friday announced that the manned mission to construct its first space station was a complete success after three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth after 90 days, concluding the country’s longest crewed mission. The Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship carrying astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo touched down at the Dongfeng landing site in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at around 13:35 local time, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) said. The mission to construct ..

Scientists find part of universe’s missing matter

A TEAM of scientists has mapped a galactic wind for the first time, a finding that may help to reveal where some of the universe’s missing matter is located and to observe the formation of a nebula around a galaxy. Galaxies can receive and exchange matter with their external environment thanks to the galactic winds created by stellar explosions. The galactic wind was observed via the MUSE instrument from the Very Large Telescope at the European Southern Observatory. The unique observation is detailed ..

World Bank cancels business report after investigation

THE World Bank is cancelling a prominent report on business conditions around the world after investigators found staff members were pressured by the bank’s leaders to alter data about China and some other Governments. The bank said on Thursday it would discontinue “Doing Business” following an investigation prompted by internal reports of “data irregularities” in its 2018 and 2020 editions and possible “ethical matters” involving bank staff. Staff members changed data on China to improve its ranking ..

IMF suspends engagement with Afghanistan

THE International Monetary Fund has said its engagement with Afghanistan will remain suspended until there is clarity within the international community on the recognition of the Government led by the Taliban. The IMF said it was deeply concerned with economic conditions in Afghanistan, urging the international community to take urgent steps to stall a “looming humanitarian crisis” in the country. “Our engagement with Afghanistan has been suspended until there is clarity within the international community ..

US special envoy John Kerry lauds Modi for ambitious climate targets

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry on Monday lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for setting ambitious climate targets and added that India has demonstrated that economic development and clean energy can go hand-in-hand. While congratulating India for making significant progress in climate targets, Kerry said that the 450 gigawatts renewable energy goal will be reached by India. “PM Modi has set very ambitious targets in India. The target of 450 GW by 2030, of renewable energy, ..

Taliban Government bans Afghan women from playing any sport

WITH the announcement of the newly-elected Cabinet of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan (IEA) under the Taliban, statements and orders have started to come out from various ministries, which are putting the issue of acceptance and legitimacy of the group’s rule in the country, under serious scrutiny. One such decision was taken by the IEA’s Cultural Commission, in which women have been barred from playing cricket or any other sport, in which their bodies could be seen. “It wasn’t necessary for ..

UN appeals for $606 mn to aid Afghans rest of year

THE United Nations is making an emergency appeal for $606 million to help nearly 11 million people in Afghanistan for the four remaining months of 2021. It says they face a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by drought, displacement, chronic poverty and the sharp increase in hostilities as the Taliban swept to power. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs already has a $1.3 billion appeal for Afghanistan for the entire year of 2021, but it is only 39% funded -- at just $498 million. ..

USD 1bn refund offer acceptable to firm, to drop cases within days: Cairn CEO

UK-BASED Cairn Energy PLC on Tuesday said it will drop litigations to seize Indian properties in countries ranging from France to the US, within a couple of days of getting a USD 1 billion refund resulting from the scrapping of a retrospective tax law. The firm, which gave India its biggest onland oil discovery, termed “bold” the legislation passed last month to cancel a 2012 policy that gave the tax department power to go back 50 years and slap capital gains levies wherever ownership had changed ..

Protests in Kabul against Pak dropping bombs in Panjshir

A NUMBER of men and women took to the streets of Kabul chanting slogans against Pakistan as they claim the latters jets conducted airstrikes in Panjshir province. They have gathered at the gate of the Pakistani embassy in Kabul and said that they do not support a puppet government in Afghanistan and asked for an inclusive government. The people gathered after co-leader of the resistance front in Panjshir province Ahmad Masoud in a voice clip called on people of Afghanistan to resurrect against the ..

Taliban kill Afghan female police officer in front of her family

TALIBAN militants in Afghanistan have shot dead a policewoman in a provincial city, BBC has reported. The woman, named in local media as Banu Negar, was killed at the family home in front of relatives in Firozkoh, the capital of central Ghor province. The killing comes amid increasing reports of escalating repression of women in Afghanistan. Details of the incident are still sketchy as many in Firozkoh fear retribution if they speak out. But three sources have told the BBC that the Taliban beat ..

‘Taliban leader Mullah Hasan Akhund nominated as head of Afghanistan’

AFTER days of consultations, the Taliban have nominated Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund as the new head of state, according to senior leaders, a media report said. They said the new Government was likely to be installed on Wednesday, “or may get delayed for a few more days”, The News International reported. “Ameerul Momineen Sheikh Hibatullah Akhunzada had himself proposed Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund as Raees-e-Jamhoor, or raees-ul-wazara or the new head state of Afghanistan. Mullah Baradar Akhund and ..

Taliban say, they took Panjshir, no need for any more fighting

THE Taliban said on Monday that they have seized the last province not in their control after their blitz through Afghanistan last month, apparently overrunning forces who had opposed their takeover. Thousands of Taliban fighters charged into eight districts of Panjshir province overnight, according to witnesses from the area. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that the province was now held by their fighters. “There is no need for any more fighting,” Mujahid said at the news conference. ..

Taliban co-founder Baradar to lead new Govt in Afghanistan

TALIBAN co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is set to lead a new Afghan Government, sources in the Islamist group said on Friday. The development comes as the Taliban is battling rebel fighters in Panjshir Valley and was striving to ward off an economic collapse, ‘TOLO News’ reported. The formation of a new Afghan Government by the Taliban, which was to be announced on Friday, has now been delayed by a day, according to the spokesman of the insurgents Zabiullah Mujahid...

Taliban all set to announce its new Govt in Afghanistan

THE Taliban are all set to announce the formation of a new Government in Kabul on the lines of the Iranian leadership, with the group’s top religious leader Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada as Afghanistan’s supreme authority, a senior member of the group has said. “Consultations are almost finalised on the new Government, and the necessary discussions have also been held about the cabinet,” Mufti Inamullah Samangani, a senior official in the Taliban’s information and culture commission, said. He said ..

China may grab Afghan’s Bagram air base: Nikki Haley

THE US needs to closely watch China as it might try to take over the Bagram air force base in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of the war-torn country and use Pakistan to get stronger to go against India, a former senior American diplomat has warned. America’s former envoy to the United Nations Nikki Haley said President Joe Biden has lost the trust and confidence of American allies after his hasty decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. She said there are many challenges in front ..

Taliban say, negotiations with Panjshir leaders failed

THE Taliban on Wednesday said that the negotiations with the leaders of the Panjshir province have gone in vain as it is the only province that is still out of the Taliban’s reach in the country, a media report said. Taliban’s commission for guidance and encouragement’s head Mullah Amir Khan Motaqi said that negotiations with the tribal elders and leaders failed and asked the people of Panjshir province to motivate their leaders, ‘Afghanistan’s Khaama Press’ reported. The Panjshir valley lies in the ..

Taliban supreme leader concludes talks on Government formation

THE Taliban leaders have said that negotiations over the future set-up of Government in Kabul have ended and will announce new Government soon. Officials in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said that negotiations led by Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada -- the supreme leader of IEA -- ended on August 30, ‘Khaama News’ reported. Mullah Hibatullah has recently come to the Afghan capital from Kandahar province where he had held a series of talks with tribal elders. The exact date of announcing the new Government ..

Launch pads in Pak humming with activities after Taliban’s return: Intelligence agencies

SOON after the complete takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, the Intelligence agencies have sounded alerts that Pakistan-based terror outfits are humming with activities at the launch pads near the border. “There has been indication that Pakistan based terror outfits like Lashkar-e Toiba, and Jaishe-e Mohammad have stepped up their efforts to push ultras into Jammu and Kashmir soon after the Taliban took over Afghanistan”, a source in the security set up said. According to him, the launch pads ..

Taliban proclaim ‘full independence’ after US troops leave

THE Taliban have proclaimed “full independence” for Afghanistan after the last US soldiers flew out following 20 years of war. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said early Tuesday that “American soldiers left the Kabul airport, and our nation got its full independence.” The US confirmed its last forces withdrew ahead of a Tuesday deadline, ending America’s longest war and a frantic two-week evacuation effort...

Child killed as rocket hits near Kabul airport

A ROCKET struck a neighbourhood just northwest of Kabul’s international airport on Sunday as the US evacuation there winds down following the Taliban’s lightning takeover of the country, killing a child, an Afghan police chief said. The attack comes as the United States winds down a historic airlift that saw tens of thousands evacuated from Kabul’s international airport, the scene of much of the chaos that engulfed the Afghan capital since the Taliban took over two weeks ago...